Thieves dig through four shops and cart away jewellery

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Thieves dig through four shops and cart away jewellery

MALACCA: Using screwdrivers and steel-cutters, tunnelling thieves dug through four shops into a goldsmith’s in Plaza Melaka Sentral during the Hari Raya holidays and broke into a solid steel vault.However, for all their efforts, they only carted away RM350,000 worth of jewellery from the vault.The thieves had broken into a beauty parlour along the same row between midnight and 4am yesterday before cutting holes in the plywood partitions to gain access through a cosmetics shop, an unoccupied telecommunication outlet and another empty lot.

State deputy CID chief Supt P.R. Gunarajan said the gang used an oxy-acetylene torch to cut through the vault at the goldsmith’s, leaving a hole the size of a soccer ball.

Hole in the wall: The gaping hole shows where the thieves had broken into the goldsmith outlet from the adjoining shop and (below) the damaged vault.

“They scooped 15 trays of jewellery from the four-tier vault and fled without touching the cash counter where some RM10,000 was kept,” he said here yesterday.

Police, added Supt Gunarajan, suspected that the gang, believed to comprise three people, could have visited the row of shophouses a few days earlier, posing as customers.

“Based on their modus operandi, we believe that the thieves came well-prepared.

“They took advantage when the area was quiet to stage the break-in.

“They probably thought that the vault contained valuables and cash amounting to millions of ringgit,” he said, adding that the thieves also made away with the CCTV recording from the goldsmith shop.

The robbery was reminiscent of a similar strike during Hari Raya in 1995 when burglars tunnelled their way into a Mayban Finance branch in Taman Cheras, broke into the vault and escaped with valuables believed to be worth millions of ringgit from safe deposit boxes.

They had left behind hammers, screwdrivers and a trolley when they escaped.

Initial probe: Tan giving his statement to Asst Supt Kumares Raja Retnam and another police officer at his shop in Malacca.

Goldsmith Tan Teng Leong, 50, said he received a call from his landlord, asking him to check on his premises after the row of shophouses were broken into.

“At first, I thought my shop was spared as the landlord had told me that only the beauty parlour was broken into.

“But I was shocked to see the vault damaged and the items missing,” he said.