Tiruchy: Robbers wear comic masks to steal jewels

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Tiruchy: Two unidentified men wearing masks broke into a Lalitha Jewellery showroom in Tiruchy late Tuesday night and decamped with about 35 kg of gold, diamond and platinum ornaments, police said.
The heist in the Chathiram bus stand area came to light only on Wednesday morning when employees opened the showroom at around 9 am and found the jewel racks cleaned out. It is said the store had placed six guards on night duty outside the showroom.<>/br The burglars had managed to fox the CCTV cameras by one of them wearing the masks of Walt Disney characters — one wore a dog’s mask and another had a cat’s mask covering the face — making identification difficult. Also, they wore gloves to make sure no fingerprints were left behind. The scenes could have come straight out of The Town, starring Ben Afleck, with the robbers wearing masks and with a specific plan on what they were looking to rob. Senior police officials rushed to the place.<>Seven special police teams have been formed to crack the case. They found that the masked men had drilled a one square foot hole on the left side wall of the showroom, just enough for a man to crawl through. It was “quite likely” that other members of the gang were keeping watch outside while the robbers went about their job unhindered through almost 90 minutes, an official said, adding that they took away the ornaments only from the ground floor and left the top two floors untouched.
The officer said two of the police teams were intensely questioning the six guards as the involvement of insiders could not be ruled out; at the same time, the modus operandi and the smooth planning of the heist indicated the hit was mostly likely carried out by a north Indian gang.
Three of the seven special teams are engaged in checking out the CCTV footages obtained from nearby buildings in hope that the thieves took off their masks when they escaped from the shop.
The Tiruchy DSP Zia-ul-Huq told reporters there were similarities between this robbery and the one carried out by drilling hole in the wall to loot jewels from the lockers of Punjab National Bank in Tiruchy district in January.While one guesstimate put the heist loss at `30-40 crore, Lalitha Jewellery boss Kiran Kumar Reddy, who rushed from Chennai to assist the detectives, said preliminary estimate of the loss was around `13 crore.