Tirupati: An elderly woman was returning home after work in her farmland on the Srikalahasti-Pichatur road under the K.V.B. Puram mandal on October 5. She did not notice two motorbike-borne youngsters following her and within seconds, her 16-gram gold chain was snatched away by the two miscreants.
This is not just an isolated case reported in Chittoor district.
Mandals like Nagari, Nindra, Puttur, Pichatur, Varadaiahpalem and Satyavedu, bordering Tamil Nadu, as well as Tirupati and other parts in the district have recorded a spurt in chain-snatching incidents in recent times. The rise in such crimes is due to the increasing price of gold.
According to police data, since 2019 over 42 chain-snatching cases were reported in Chittoor district (excluding Tirupati urban limits) till September 30 this year, out of which only 27 cases have been detected. Of the recent 12 such offences, only six have been detected.
What is appalling is the involvement of youngsters and students in chain-snatching incidents. Even more baffling is that some of the offenders are from well-to-do families and they are indulging in this crime to meet their lavish lifestyle requirements.
The offenders usually target women walking alone in colonies and empty roads in rural areas. They arrive in high-end bikes from nowhere and snatch gold chains and disappear in a jiffy. To strike on their prey, they use bikes without number plates or irregular plates and venture into areas where there are no CC cameras.
Senior police officials also admit that many youngsters are resorting to unlawful activities for earning easy money.
For instance, Alipiri police arrested two chain-snatchers, including a teenager, in Tirupati on October 18. Tirupati east division DSP T. Murali Krishna said that the two were addicted to vices.
“Gold can be converted into money easily. Many gold finance companies and even local pawn-brokers are now offering money against gold within minutes. The chain-snatchers sell the stolen jewellery to gullible brokers and make a few thousands in a short time. This is what drives many youngsters into these crimes and also a reason for the spurt in such cases”, a senior police officer observed.