Several others, including women, were waylaid and relieved of their valuables during the period. The incidents have been reported in Ayanavaram, Purasaiwalkam, Koyambedu, Arumbakkam, Ashok Nagar, Choolaimedu, Virugambakkam and Taramani where a techie was attacked and relieved of his mobile phone.
The sudden spate in daring attacks has instilled a sense of fear among the public who are no longer comfortable walking or riding alone in and around the city.
On an average, once every five hours, a mobile phone is snatched from people by criminals in the city. This snatching spree has put the city police on their toes every day. Police also have to grapple with the dilemma of whether or not to register FIRs while criminals seem to have gained the upper hand on the streets with every passing day. “Four or five mobile phones are snatched daily. We provide CSR initially. FIR comes only at the next level,” a senior officer disclosed to DT Next.
Police claimed that most of the offenders were first-timers, which made it difficult to track them. Some of them were college students and juveniles. “They sell Android phones for anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 per piece. If it’s an iPhone, it can fetch them a maximum of Rs 3,000 per instrument,” noted a police officer when asked about the money made by the snatchers.
Top officers claimed that they had identified shops that bought stolen phones at cheap rates and were planning to arrest the shopkeepers in an effort to put an end to the activity.
Snatchers go on a spree again
Revealing how the menace of mobile phone and gold chain snatching cases has been growing in Chennai, over a dozen cases were recorded across the city on Sunday. Two of the petty criminal gangs were nabbed, while the rest managed to get away with the valuables.
As many as eight cases were reported at Ayanavaram, Puraswalkam, Koyambedu, Arumbakkam, Chintadripet and Tirumangalam. Besides these, a techie was assaulted at knifepoint by a gang at Taramani, but he managed to escape after the public came to his aide.
At the busy Koyembedu, Perumal, a call taxi driver hailing from Gingee lost his phone to snatchers, while Kemika Sha, who was waiting opposite CMBT for a taxi was relieved of her wallet containing a mobile phone and Rs 1,000 in cash.
Also, 24-year-old Ayyappan from MMDA colony in Arumbakkam, who was on his way to CMBT, was confronted by a two-member gang, who robbed of his bracelet and Rs 300 in cash. As another woman too lodged a complaint that her bag was snatched by a two-member gang, Arumbakkam police suspect that the same gang could have been behind all four incidents.
Similarly, Chandraprakash of Kilpauk, Leela Jain (35) of Dhana street, and Mohammed Baseer, a techie from Mannadi lost their valuables to snatchers – all at Purasawalkam. Three cases have been registered in Vepery police station.
Among the victims were Banu (40) of Ayanavaram Housing Board and Karthik Marimuthu (27) of Nageswara Gurusamy street at Ayanavaram; Prabhu and Thamizharasan, employees of a private TV channel, at Choolaimedu; Saranya at Virugambakkam; and Saravanan of Kovilambakkam.