Five men who posed as prospective tenants and robbed a woman arrestedPolice ask house owners in Kathmandu Valley to remain vigilant while renting out rooms and flats.
Subadhara Thapa (name changed) was elated when a group of people approached her asking her to give them a room in her newly-built house in Kadaghari on rent.
Thapa, who had been looking for tenants, had been disappointed after no one came to enquire about it following the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.
It was on June 22 mid-day that five people came to her house when she was alone, to inquire about the vacant room at Manohara Municipality-4.
“They first said they are going to open a hardware shop,” said Thapa, 40s, who was happy to finally rent out the room for some money.
The five people entered her house. “Suddenly one caught me by the hand and another forcefully pasted tape on my mouth. One tied my hand and another man pulled the golden chain from my neck and ran away,” she said.
Thapa said she felt so terrible after the incident that she could not come out of her house. She lodged a police complaint only the next day. “It was like a nightmare. I was lucky that they only took my necklace,” she said.
Nearly two months later, on December 13, a special team deployed by the Metropolitan Police Range Teku nabbed five people allegedly involved in crime: Sanjib, 26, and Bishowmira Tamang, 33, Pema Lama, 25, Ajaya Yonjan Tamang, 21, and Purba Gyalbo Tamang aka “Bikey”, 22.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Pramesh Bista, spokesperson for Metropolitan Police Range, Teku, said police have filed a case against the alleged culprits under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, 2013.
“They might have more people involved in such a kind of burglary. We are conducting a search,” said Bista. He said some of them who were involved in the crime had a history of stealing motorbikes.
He also requested members of the public to remain vigilant while handing over their flats or rooms to strangers. After the Covid-19 lockdown, many shops and rooms in Kathmandu are vacant.
“You can see that many people are posting to-let advertisements with their contact numbers,” said Bista.
He said the details provided could help burglars, thieves, and criminals who disguise themselves as prospective tenants to commit crimes.
“We want people to be extra careful when people come to their place seeking to rent vacant space. They might have come there to rob your property,” said Bista.