Ahead of French President François Hollande’s visit to the city, 15 heritage chairs and a table designed by Le Corbusier were stolen from the storeroom of the Government College of Art in Sector 10 on Monday night. The police said the thieves took advantage of dense fog and slipped away with the heritage furniture.
The police said thieves cut barbed wires on the boundary wall to enter the college campus and they also broke three locks to enter the storeroom in the basement from where they lifted the heritage furniture. The police said the thieves could not be identified as there was no closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera installed at the store.
WATCHMEN UNDER SCANNER
Watchmen at the college Ajit and Krishan Kumar told the police that the locks were intact when they went on a round to the storeroom in the night. But they found the locks broken and furniture missing when they again went to the storeroom at 5.45am. The police said the statements of the watchmen were contradictory and it appeared that did not take a round on the college campus.
The stolen articles were loaded in a four-wheeler, but the watchmen failed to hear the noise, the police said.
Even the college authorities don’t have the exact record showing when the furniture was kept in the storeroom and who were the college employees who had transported the furniture from the college to the storeroom, which is located in a secluded area on the campus.
It is clear that thieves were aware about the heritage furniture kept in the storeroom, said the police. A first information report (FIR) has been lodged against unidentified persons under Sections 457 and 380 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Sector 3 police station.
The police said the way the theft took place, it appeared that the thieves were well-aware about the storeroom where the heritage furniture was kept. Sector 3 station house officer Neeraj Sarna said they have procured CCTV camera footage from the Matka roundabout and also other points to identify the accused. A CFSL team was also called to gather clues.
NO HEADWAY IN PREVIOUS THEFT
In September last year, thieves took away eight wooden chairs and two tables after breaking the windows of the exhibition hall of Le Corbusier Centre in Sector 19. The police have failed to make any headway in the case.
HOUR-LONG OPERATION, SAY POLICE
The police said the thieves entered the college campus midnight and it must have taken them an hour to lift 15 chairs and a table and load it in a vehicle. Superintendent of the college Pawan Kumar said: “A committee was formed in 2011 to register the heritage furniture. We photographed every piece of furniture and listed it in a register. After that the furniture was stored in two rooms. It is wrong to say that we do not have the record.”