Daring robbery at South Mumbai's Oberoi, Trident hotels
3 Rolex and 3 Panerai watches, worth Rs 36 lakh, stolen from display case in vestibule connecting Oberoi and Trident hotels; low-vision CCTV manages to capture blurry images
The police are on the hunt for a trio of burglars who stole luxury watches worth Rs 36 lakh from the Oberoi and Trident hotels, but thanks to poor CCTV footage from the hotel, there are still no clues in sight. While the cops have been unable to identify the culprits from the blurry videos, they suspect the well-planned heist was carried out by foreign nationals.
Luxury items on display at the Trident-Oberoi passage yesterday, near the spot from where the watches were stolen. Pic/Bipin Kokate
The incident took place on the night of September 30, in the corridor that connects the Trident and Oberoi hotels at Nariman Point. Six watches that were kept in a glass display along the corridor were stolen by three visitors, including a woman.
According to the police, the trio reached the spot at 10.30 pm and walked out with the expensive booty within 20 minutes. “The accused had planned the heist in a very organised manner. The woman kept watch at one entrance of the corridor on the Trident hotel side, while one of the men stood watch near the Oberoi side. All three of them were in formals; the man in the blazer stole the watches. The heist was executed in 15 to 20 minutes,” said a police officer from the Marine Drive police station.
CCTV captured this indistinct image of the thief, who was dressed in a blazer
The cops have alleged that security measures were less than satisfactory. Not only was the corridor unmanned by security personnel, there was a simple lock on the glass display, which the burglars had no trouble breaking open.
CCTV images are blurry but show the three suspects at the hotel corridor; while the woman (left) was on lookout duty at the Trident side of the corridor, one of the men kept watch on the Oberoi side. Meanwhile, the man in the blazer stole the watches
“Watches were kept inside a display made of glass. The lock on the display was hardly worth R300, even though the watches kept inside were worth several lakhs. The accused easily managed to break open the lock and removed six watches from the display. Three of them were Rolex watches, while three were from Panerai. The six watches are valued over R36 lakh in all,” the officer added.
As there were no guards to watch the display, staff members only discovered the theft the next day, when the FIR was lodged. The police began their probe, only to find that the CCTV images were too hazy to identify the crooks.
“It is a major security concern, especially because during the horrific 26/11 attacks, terrorists had entered this very hotel,” said a cop from the Marine Drive police station, adding, “The CCTV footage is extremely poor, which is causing major difficulties in identifying the three accused. We have sent the pictures to all the hotels and lodges in south Mumbai. However, they have all responded saying the pictures are too blurry. We are trying every thing possible to get a lead in the case.”
When mid-day tried to contact Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, the executive assistant manager, Kamal Kaur refused to comment on the matter, while public relations officer Pallavi Singh did not respond to messages or calls. However, when mid-day visited the spot yesterday, there were two guards manning the area and the display and its lock had been taped up.
The police suspect that the three suspects are foreign nationals. “We went to SB (special branch) of Mumbai Police, where records of all foreigners are kept. We went through the records of over 2,000 foreign nationals but the three could not be identified. Our team even went to Chor Bazaar but we did not find any leads there either. Looking at the crime, all the accused seem to be professionals who carried out the heist after detailed study,” said an official.