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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Delhi Police sees pattern in robbery at oldest luxury watch shop in Connaught Place

The burglary at Gangoly Brothers on Friday and at Cooke & Kelvey in September 2014 bear several similarities. In both the robberies, similar modus operandi was used and the thieves made off with only costly and branded timepieces.

delhi Updated: Jan 31, 2017 13:41 IST
Karn Pratap Singh
Karn Pratap Singh
Hndustan Times
Gangoly Brothers in Connaught Place was robbed on Friday night in New Delhi.
Gangoly Brothers in Connaught Place was robbed on Friday night in New Delhi.(Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo)

The burglary at Gangoly Brothers, one of Delhi’s oldest watch showrooms, is reminiscent of the burglary at Cooke & Kelvey watch shop in Connaught Place from where over 100 Rolex watches worth over Rs 5 crore were stolen in September 2014.

The two burglaries at watch showrooms have several similarities. First, in both the cases the police have been unable to ascertain the identity of the thieves and the two crimes have remained unsolved till date. Second, the modus operandi of the thieves who made off with over 600 high-end and antique timepieces of international brands such as Rolex, Rado Seiko, Guess, Omega, Victorinox, Longines, Fossil, with price ranging between Rs 5,000 and Rs 7 lakh, from Gangoly Brothers shop, was similar to that of thieves who burgled Cooke & Kelvey showroom. Both the shops are located around Connaught Place.

“In both the burglaries, the shutter was lifted halfway from the centre using iron rods and jacks. The lever and the locks on the two ends of the shutter were intact. The shutter was lifted only to a height that would allow a child or a thin man to crawl inside,” an investigating officer said.

Another similarity between the two thefts is that the thieves only took away costly and branded timepieces and did not touch any low cost watches. This has made the investigators believe that it was the handiwork of a professional gang and watch experts.

“When we reached the spot, we found that the shutter had been lifted halfway. Nothing was broken. The lever and the lock were intact. The owner of the showroom told us that someone must have slipped a spade beneath the shutter and opened it and sent in a kid as it was too narrow for a grown up person,” an officer said.

The owner of Cooke & Kelvey confirmed to HT that there had been no breakthrough in his case and the probe is still on. “Since all stolen watches were insured, the insurance company compensated for our losses. Who committed the burglary at our shop has remained a mystery,” the owner said.

BK Singh, deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi), said they have registered a case in connection with the burglary at Gangoly Brothers showroom and their teams have been working at it.

An officer privy to the probe said that they scanned the CCTV camera footage of a nearby bank and ATM booth and found that five persons were involved in the crime. The five were all adults and they used iron rods and jacks to lift the shutter.

“The faces of the suspects were not clear in the footage. We are trying our best to identify them by using our criminal intelligence network. Similar crimes occurred in the past will also be examined and involvement of gangs who use similar modus operandi will also be probed,” the officer said that they were also examining data of mobile phones that were active in the area at the time of the crime on Friday night. The total loss was estimated over Rs 1.35 crore.

At the time of the robbery, the CCTV camera at the Gangoly Brothers showroom was turned off and the shop did not have an emergency alarm system in place. Investigators said that they also suspect involvement of an insider, as only a person, who was aware of the security lapses could carry out the theft with such precision.

The showroom has 15 employees, including a manager but except one or two all are old and trusted staff, claim Dinesh Baroda, onwer of Gangoly Brothers. His son Mayank Barodia said that whoever stole the watches will not be able to sell them to any authorised watch shops in Delhi-NCR, as their original bills and boxes were left in the shop.

“The watches can be sold lose and at smaller shops in other states where customers may not ask for the original bill,” said Mayank.

Located close to Regal Building at the outer circle, Gangoly Brothers was selling watches even before Independence. Talking about the legacy of their business, Barodia said, “post Independence, Gangoly Brothers became the first watchmakers to first President Dr Rajendra Prasad, who gave them the appointment letter himself. We became partners of Gangoly Brothers in 1980 and eventually took over as the shop owner in 1984.”

First Published: Jan 31, 2017 13:40 IST