The sudden spurt in chain-snatching cases in the city has kept police officers on their toes but they rue the fact that their efforts come to a naught as these men are ‘back in business’ soon after.
According to the police, chain snatchers continue to rake in the moolah even after spending few weeks/months behind bars, as it is easy for them to procure bail in such cases. And once out of the prison, they do what they know best to make up for the loss.
Realising that the policemen were going easy on such cases, police commissioner Arup Patnaik had recently summoned senior policemen. He had asked them to explain the reason for rising cases of chain-snatching. He even asked them to treat chain-snatching cases seriously and book the accused for robbery instead of theft, as punishment for former is harsher and will make criminals wary.
Explaining the reason that forces chain snatchers to return to their business, an officer said: “A gold chain weighing 10 grams will fetch more than Rs20,000. A chain snatcher immediately sells the stolen item to a jeweller and after he gets the cash, he sends it to his relative.”
This appears a lucrative option and forces them to continue with the crime.
The police officer added: “We manage to recover the stolen property from the jeweller and hand it over to the victims. On most occasions, the accused by then would have sent money that he got to his native place. This money is seldom recovered.”
Trouble begins after he is let off, the officer added. “With the arrest of the accused and recovery of the stolen items, the police investigation is almost over.”
After the stolen goods are recovered, the local court sends the accused to judicial custody, following which he easily gets bail.
“A chain snatcher only has to spend a few days behind bars, and spend money to pay the lawyer and secure bail. It is the jeweller, who eventually suffers maximum loss. He ends up paying for the stolen goods and that too is taken away by the police,” the officer added.
Even though the police arrest the accused, there is seldom any drop in such cases.
Once the chain snatcher is out on bail, he returns to his old ways and even if he is arrested, he knows that there’s a way out. Sooner or later, he will be back to his business.
The joint commissioner of police (law & order), Rajneesh Seth, said: “An accused, who has been arrested for chain snatching, has to spend time behind bars and also pay for his lawyer’s fee. But after we manage to recover the stolen jewellery, it is not easy to follow the money trail.”