Rs 25 crore vanish in Capital’s largest jewellery heist

| | New Delhi
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Rs 25 crore vanish in Capital’s largest jewellery heist

Wednesday, 27 September 2023 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi

In a sensational robbery, diamond, gold jewellery and other valuables worth at least Rs 20-25 crore were lifted from a store in Bhogal area of Jangpura in southeast Delhi by unidentified burglars who bore a hole in the shop’s wall to access it in the intervening night of September 25 and 26. This is one of the biggest robberies reported in the national capital in the recent past.

The robbery came to light on Tuesday when the showroom’s owner, who had locked the showroom on Sunday evening, discovered that all the diamond and gold jewellery were missing when he opened the showroom early on Tuesday. The store remains shut on Mondays on account of weekly closure. The heist occurred at Umrao Singh Jewellers, established in 1948.

The Delhi Police said it was a “big incident of burglary” and that they were conducting an investigation. The heist was meticulously planned, as evidenced by the disconnection of CCTV cameras and disabling of security alarms to avoid detection. The burglars used gas cutters to bore the holes and knew exactly where to look for the loot.

 To get into the strong-room of the jewellery shop, the thieves allegedly climbed on to the jewellery shop’s terrace through a neighbouring building and gained access through the terrace of the four-story building, making their way to the ground floor where the secure vault was situated. The visuals from the spot showed a big hole in the wall along the staircase.

The owner, and later the police, found that the security and alarm systems in the shop had been disabled and did not trigger any alarm when the intruders went in.

“We closed the shop on Sunday and when we opened it on Tuesday after an off on Monday, we saw that there was dust in the whole shop and there was a hole in the wall of the strong room... We think they (thieves) have looted everything. There was jewellery worth around Rs 20-25 crore. They entered from the terrace. Everything is damaged including CCTV. An investigation is underway,” said shop owner Sanjeev Jain.

The police said the thieves cut the cables of the CCTV system at the shop before they executed the heist. According to officials, thieves had meticulously planned the entire heist. The thieves decamped with all the gold and diamond ornaments leaving behind just the ones made of silver.

The police have launched an investigation, and efforts to trace the accused are underway. Senior police officer Rajesh Deo, who arrived at the crime scene, described it as a “big burglary incident” and stated that a probe has commenced.

“We got information on Tuesday from Umrao Jewellers. Police teams reached the spot. We have started an investigation into the matter,” said Rajesh Deo, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southeast). “There are many CCTV footage available which our forensic teams are checking. The accused will be nabbed soon,” the official said. Police have identified at least five routes through which the burglars could have reached the roof of the building.

Police sources said that the robbers had prior information about the shop and jewellery and knew how to reach the strong room. They said the robbers  also knew about the electronic instruments. The police sources said the way the burglary had been committed, it appears that the robbers  had come to the place earlier to plan their act.

Sources said the police are also investigating why the shop’s security system failed  to trigger an alarm during the theft.

Furthermore, a  significant portion of the stolen ornaments was taken from the strong room of the shop.

A similar incident was reported in Haryana’s Ambala on Monday where thieves broke into a cooperative bank and stole jewellery and other valuables. They drilled a hole in the wall using a gas cutter to enter the bank and broke open 32 lockers, police said. The theft came to light only on Monday morning since the bank was closed over the weekends.

Last year, the burglars dug an 8-metre long and four-ft wide tunnel horizontally and another three-ft tunnel vertically to enter precisely in the strong-room in Kanpur. They did not touch Rs 35 lakh in cash that was in another locker.They used a gas cutter to open the locker which had the gold mortgaged to the bank by 29 people against loans.

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