On Sunday, 9 kg gold, worth Rs 2.72 cr was stolen from a jewellery store in Hanuman Nagar, Mulund; despite a beat chowkie being a stone’s throw away, this is the third such theft in the area this year
One would imagine that setting up shop next to a police station or chowki would be the ultimate insurance against theft — at least this is what shopkeepers at Mulund’s Hanuman Nagar used to believe.
CCTV grabs show four accused entering the jewellery store through the AC duct, stealing the gold and escaping the same way
However, following three major break-ins at stores in a radius of barely 50 metres from the Hanuman Nagar police beat chowkie, the shopkeepers have lost their sense of security.
The Suvarnakar jewellery store was robbed of 9 kg gold on Sunday, while the adjacent mobile shop (Tokyo Telecom) was robbed twice this year. The shops are just 50 metres away from the beat chowkie (circled)
The latest heist took place at Suvarnakar jewellery store, which was robbed of 9 kg gold, worth R2.72 crore. This is, in fact, the second shop there to be robbed this year — the adjacent mobile shop, Tokyo Telecom, has already been looted twice since January, first of goods worth Rs 1.14 lakh and then Rs 54,000.
Eventually, it was left to the shop owner, Dinesh Patel, to carry out night-long vigils for a few days until he managed to catch the thieves attempting to break in again (‘Burgled thrice, Mumbai shop-owner turns sleuth to nab culprits’, Sunday mid-day, July 5).
“We bought a shop next to the beat chowkie but still cannot sleep peacefully at night, since our shops can be burgled any time. Valuables were stolen from my shop more than once, after which I caught the culprits all by myself, but we still haven’t got our stolen goods back,” Patel told mid-day
One of the other shopkeepers said, “Following the thefts, we have also been too scared to keep our valuables inside the shop. We just wrap up all the goods and take them home.” Another store owner said, “When we thought of buying a shop in Hanuman Nagar, the first thing that struck me was that a beat chowkie was near my shop, and this gave me a feeling of security.
The sad truth, however, is that shops are being robbed here regularly.” The local shopkeepers questioned why cops are not stationed at the chowkie at night, but Senior Police Inspector Ramdas More from Navghar police station said, “In the night, no officer is supposed to sit inside the beat chowki; they are ordered to do patrolling duty instead.”
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An officer from the police station also said that they had obtained CCTV footage from the jewellery store that was robbed on Sunday, and have now formed teams to nab the culprits. “We have learnt that four accused sneaked inside the shop from the AC duct and, after stealing the ornaments from the shop, escaped the same way.
The owner didn’t have a locker, so the ornaments were kept on display even after the shop was closed. They didn’t even have any insurance for the shop,” he said.
What is a police beat chowkie?
Police beat chowkies are set up in neighbourhoods so people can head there with their complaints and grievances. However, cases are not registered at beat chowkies. The chowkis are headed by a three-star officer and have a minimum of four cops.