Even as incessant rains lashed the city, there was a spurt of chain snatchings on Sunday and Monday with six gold chains, collectively weighing 140 tolas, worth Rs 6 lakh, tugged from victims’ necks in various parts of the city. The robbers struck at Matunga, Mahim, Kherwadi, Vakola and Vile Parle and Trombay respectively.
Police say the modus operandi was the same in all instances, with the miscreants speeding away on their motorcycles after snatching the chains. But, there was an evident distinction in the latest robberies from the earlier ones.
According to cops, the chain-snatchers resorted to violence, by slapping their victims on their face before yanking their chains, and in one instance even slapped a bystander who intervened.
The first incident took place in Matunga around 2.30 pm on Sunday when 58-year-old Valibeen Rabadiya was sitting at a bus stop in Khodadad circle. A bike with two people approached her, then pushed her and snatched her mangalsutra weighing 12 grams.
The police have till now tried every trick in the book to curb chain snatchings, but have been terribly unsuccessful till date. “It’s the soaring gold prices. While 10 gm of gold was Rs 19,665 in January 2011, it rose to Rs 27,400 in December. In June, it touched Rs 30,295,” said a police officer, on condition of anonymity.
The second incident occurred at Panjrapole Junction, Shivaji Nagar, where a local resident, Pradnya Sawant, was robbed of her chain after the robbers slapped her first and then snatched her mangalsutra. In the third case, Alex D’souza, a resident of Santacruz, was robbed of his chain while taking a stroll near Vakola pipeline. Two people seated on a motorcycle slapped him on his neck and fled with his chain weighing 20 grams. “When a member of the public tried to stop the chain snatchers, they even slapped him and sped away,” said a police officer from Vakola police station.
In another chain-snatching incident, a motorcyclist robbed a 22-year-old lady, Shruti Sawant, of her gold chain in Vile Parle (E) on the Western Express Highway. Nidhi Kadam and Priya Sadvelkar were also robbed of their gold chains in a similar fashion.
“Earlier, we used to register a theft case against chain snatchers, but now we book them for robbery. But, still the number of crimes have not decreased,” said a Crime Branch officer. “It’s very easy to rob chains. You only need a bike and you have to be good at riding it, which every youngster thinks he is. Mostly youngsters take up to this crime. Even if they are successful in one chain snatching, the sale proceeds last them for at least 10 days, as 1 tola easily fetches them Rs 20,000,” said the police officer.