Rs 2 crore heist at luxe watch store was one-man show: Police

Getting into the store seemed to have been a cakewalk
Last Updated 14 January 2022, 09:03 IST

Police have solved a Rs 2-crore heist reported by a luxury watch store in eastern Bengaluru last week.

The daring burglary at Zimson-The Watch Store, located on Indiranagar 100 Feet Road, had become the stuff of legend for its meticulous execution. As many as 171 luxury wristwatches — 129 Rados, 29 Longines and 13 Omegas — were cleaned out from the store’s glittering showcases on January 5.

Getting into the store seemed to have been a cakewalk for the thieves: they broke the lock of the main glassdoor without breaking a sweat.

The store owner, Shamoeel, a resident of Fraser Town, was shocked beyond measure and filed a police complaint.

When the police checked the CCTV footage of the store and the surrounding shops, they were surprised to find out that the entire operation was carried out by just one person. They had only one question: how did just one man do it?

As they set out to unravel the mystery over the next few days, police soon found the answer.

While one only person did actually enter the store and clean out the watches, he did have accomplices, but they were sleeping ones.

The burglar, whom the police identified as Osi Akhtar, 37, a native of Bihar, had at least four accomplices but they all stood outside keeping vigil.

Police arrested Akhtar on January 10 and recovered the stolen watches two days later. He is said to be a habitual offender who’s been committing burglaries for well over a decade now.

The gang targeted only shops selling cameras and wristwatches and sold off the booty in Bihar and near the India-Nepal border.

The gang members had visited the store three days before the heist and did a recce in the guise of buying a watch. They closely observed the CCTV cameras installed in the store and nearby commercial establishments. They later decided that only one of them will enter the store so as to avoid the cameras while others would stay outside.

The kingpin is said to be one Imtiaz, who visits big cities every few months and stays there briefly. He does a recce of stores selling electronic gadgets, cameras and wristwatches, identifies potential targets and passes on the information to his foot soldiers.

Police are now looking out for him and other suspects, said S D Sharanappa, in-charge Deputy Commissioner of Police (East).

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(Published 13 January 2022, 19:09 IST)

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