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Chandigarh: Thieves outsmart police, damage video evidence

Thieves strike at ayurvedic medicine shop in Sector 44, throw video recorder in water before fleeing

punjab Updated: Jul 09, 2017 13:03 IST
Shailee Dogra
Police carrying out investigation at the shop in Sector 44, Chandigarh
Police carrying out investigation at the shop in Sector 44, Chandigarh(HT Photo)

Thieves struck at an ayurvedic medicine shop in Sector 44 and took away Rs 22,000 besides medicines on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday.

It’s not yet clear how many people were involved in the crime.

To conceal their identity, they also threw the digital video recorder (DVR) connected to the closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras into water.

This wasn’t the first crime in the city where the thieves tried to outsmart the police by damaging the CCTV cameras or the DVRs.

The thief who took away cash from the Sai Baba temple in Sector 29 last month too had applied black paint on CCTV cameras on the premises. Three other similar cases have also been reported in different parts of the city in the past three weeks.

The theft at Vardhan Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicines Private Limited, Sector 44, came to light in the morning, when its staff opened the shop. They immediately informed the police around 9am.

The thief apparently entered the shop after opening the door leading to the roof. He broke the hinges of an internal door while locks of the main door were found intact.

The accused took away Rs 12,000 from the cash box and Rs 10,000 from a donation box at the counter. He also stole ayurvedic medicines and four mobile phones.

Police said the accused was well aware of CCTV cameras installed in the shop as well as in the staircase. He had turned the position of all the cameras to ensure his movement is not recorded.

To be extra sure, he also threw the DVR in a wash basin and opened the tap to destroy video evidence, if any.

Police suspect it to be an insider’s job, as they claim the thief had conducted a recee of the shop.

“We are trying to retrieve the CCTV footage, but as the accused had thrown the DVR in water, it will take time,” said deputy superintendent of police (DSP, South) Deepak Yadav.

Meanwhile, the police have picked up the mobile data dump from the area and are scanning footage of CCTV cameras installed in other parts of the market.

A case under Section 380 (theft) and 457 (house trespass) of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at the Sector-34 police station.

Staying one step ahead

As part of the Nigehbaan project, envisaged by the then inspector general of police (IGP) Tejinder Pal Luthra in March 2016, all station house officers (SHOs) were asked to identify sensitive points in their areas to install CCTV cameras. Luthra is now the director general of police (DGP).

Under this collaborative project with resident welfare associations and market bodies, nearly 12,000 CCTV cameras were installed in the city.

But burglars have now started targeting these cameras and video recorders to outwit the cops.

Four other cases in past 3 weeks

July 7: Thieves target a liquor shop in Sector 41, take away 13 bottles of liquor worth Rs 19,000 along with Rs 24,000. Along with it, they also carry away the LED screen, CCTV camera and digital video recorder from the shop.

June 30: Thief strikes at Sai Baba Mandir in Sector 29. He damages seven CCTV cameras with a hammer. He also turns the direction of some cameras while painting others with black paint. The accused — Amarjit Singh — was arrested later.

June 26: Thieves steal Rs 40,000 along with garments from two shops in Sector 35. Here too they take away the DVR from both the shops.

June 20: In a theft that lasts just three minutes, miscreants take away Rs 25,000, two bottles of Black Dog and four of beer from a liquor shop in Dadumajra. They use a steel tumbler to damage the CCTV cameras.