Five families living in Madhuban and Laxmi housing societies on Alandi road suffered at the hands of thieves, who broke into their homes and decamped with cash and valuables on Tuesday. Inhabitants of three of the five flats had stepped out for Durga puja when the burglars struck and made away with gold and valuables totalling Rs 20 lakh.
According to the police, both the housing societies on Alaldi Road in Vishrantwadi do not have CCTV cameras installed on the premises and have few security guards manning the gates. This the feel had made the buildings vulnerable to burglars.
The burglars first targeted a flat at Madhuban society belonging to a Serum Institute scientist sometime on Tuesday afternoon. They unhinged the door using crowbars and managed to take away gold ornaments and cash worth Rs 5 lakh. The security guard of the society was not at his desk when the break-in occurred.
“My family and I had gone to attend a Durga puja in the vicinity in the afternoon and when we returned, we saw the lock on the safety door broken. We went inside and realised that the gold ornaments and cash worth Rs 5 lakh was missing from the safe,” said Tamal Bhaduri.
The security guard of the building said that in the afternoon, he had stepped out for some work, which the burglars might have noticed and made good of the opportunity.
In the second incident, some identified persons broke into the flat of one Soumya Saha residing in the same housing society in the wee hours of yesterday and made away with gold valuables and cash.
“We have received information that Saha had gone to West Bengal to attend Durga puja and we are yet to establish what was stolen,” said a police officer.
The police have contacted Saha and informed her about the incident and asked her to return to the city.
Police Inspector Motichand Rathod of the Vishrantwadi polices station said, “We have informed the residents of Madhuban society to see that CCTV cameras are installed on the premises. We have also asked them to ensure that adequate security is arranged.”
The other two robberies took place in Laxmi apartment, which is close to Madhuban society. Raju Mhaske (40) and his family were attending a Durga puja in Mhaskewasti and returned home late in the night to find the main door open. Upon entering the flat, Mhaske found that cash and gold ornaments worth Rs 45,000, which was kept in the cupboard, was missing.
“I immediately called up the control room after which the police arrived. While checking our building, the cops also found that a flat, which belongs to Smita Kirad (36), had also been burgled when she was at work,” said Mhaske.
PSI Sachin Kale, who is investigating the case, said, “In both cases, the burglars had broken the main latch of the door. They made away with cash and gold worth Rs 1.50 lakh from Kirad’s flat.” He added that all the incidents, which happened in a span of 24 hours, seem to the handiwork of one gang. “We have started questioning the security guards of both the societies and suspect their role in the house burglaries,” Kale said.