Scotland Yard is investigating a spate of recent burglaries targeting gold at Indian-origin homes in north London, including the residence of an 81-year-old woman, and called for extra vigilance ahead of Diwali festivities. Detectives from the North Area Command Unit of Metropolitan Police began investigating following, what it described as, two suspected linked “aggravated burglaries” targeting South Asian gold over the weekend in Enfield, including one in which an elderly female was threatened.
“I can reassure residents that increased patrols have been deployed in the area. These burglaries targeted high-value Asian gold and I would strongly recommend that residents review their home security in line with the burglary prevention advice which has been issued by the Metropolitan Police Service, particularly at this time of the year with Diwali fast-approaching,” said Detective Inspector Paul Ridley, who is leading the investigation. “I would also urge any members of the public who may have been offered the stolen jewellery for sale or have CCTV or dashcam footage of the burglars to approach the police,” he said.
The Met Police, in a report, notes that on Friday, September 20, 2019 at approximately 21:30 hours local time an 81-year-old woman was in bed at her home when two men barged through her bedroom door and produced a sharp weapon, which they then held to her face and threatened her before demanding valuables. One of the men then forcibly pulled off four bangles from each of her two wrists as the other man rifled through her belongings in the other rooms. The terrified victim warned that police were on their way and the men fled through a rear garden, climbing over a wall.
The victim suffered bruising on her arms from the force of the bangles being removed. She was otherwise not seriously injured. In the second incident, on Sunday at around 21:00 hours local time, a 53-year-old woman and her 65-year-old husband were at home when they heard loud banging on the front door. As the woman stood up, the door was thrown open and a man entered, demanding money and gold. The man began searching the house for valuables, despite the victim’s protests that there were none.
The victim woman was forced to lead the man to the master bedroom and he rummaged through drawers and cupboards before slapping her in the face and demanded money. The victim’s husband was in another room; he was confronted by two men with hammers and was ordered to get to the floor. They demanded cash and gold and threatened to kill him. The three suspects then made off from the location. The suspects are described as white males, aged between 20 and 35 years, and wearing bandanas.
“The offences occurred minutes away from each other along the ‘A10 corridor’. “I believe the suspects will have used a vehicle and the main road as a conduit to provide an accessible access and escape route,” said DI Ridley, issuing an appeal for information this week. “If you witnessed the offenders arriving or leaving, or know who is responsible then come forward as a priority. My investigation team will continue to follow every line of enquiry. I want these men caught; to target people in their homes, the places where they should feel most safe, is despicable and pure cowardice,” he said.
The Met Police regularly issues alerts around extra care of household gold owned by Indian-origin families in the UK around Indian festivals like Diwali and Navratri when these jewelleries are used in ceremonies and functions.