Departmental stores in upscale condominiums along the Golf Course Road are being targeted by someone with a taste for expensive cigarettes. Four such shops inside upscale gated complexes have been broken into despite all the security and CCTV cameras.
In these break-ins, the culprit not only took away cash, but also packets of Marlboro cigarettes. A small packet of Marlboro cigarettes costs Rs246.
The latest to be hit was the Needs departmental store located inside the Westend Heights complex of DLF Phase 5. The beading on the window pane was removed and the shop broken into.
“The perpetrator took away 22 packets of Marlboro cigarettes and Rs7,000. The only reason more money could not be stolen is that it is hidden and not kept in the cash box,” said Arun Khattar, CEO, Needs Stores, who complained to the Sushant Lok police station. The police registered a case in the matter on March 7 under Section 380 of the IPC. The police is investigating the matter
The incident at Westend Heights took place around 1am on May 1. The store manager found out about the theft the next day and called the police.
What has confounded the owner of the departmental stores is that a series of thefts have hit the chain, and the modus operandi has been the same. And so has been the preference for Marlboros. Prior to the May 1 incident, a Needs store in Belaire Condominium was burgled on the night of April 27 and a small amount of cash and some packets of cigarettes stolen.
The store at Regency Park 2 condominium suffered the same fate twice when Rs70,000 in cash and packets of Marlboro cigarettes were stolen from the store on April 3 and April 21.
A similar incident took place on May 3 too, but this time at the store of a different chain. Some cash and expensive cigarettes were stolen from there too. The store owners complained that condominium associations, to whom they have been paying security charges, should have ensured that the premises are secure and CCTV footage available.
“What is unfortunate is that CCTV footage in most cases is not available and it is difficult to find out what happened. The police and the crime team are investigating and I hope this criminal or group is caught soon,” said Khattar.