Birmingham couple killed for gold?

Last Updated: Sunday, January 15, 2012 - 20:05

London: The house of Indian-origin Avtar
Singh Kolar and his English wife may have been targeted by
gold thieves who have struck at several places in Birmingham
in the recent past due to the rising price of the yellow
metal.

Asian - and particularly Indian - families are
known to save and regularly buy gold and ornaments as per
tradition. There was almost one burglary a day in the couple`s
neighbourhood in Handsworth Wood, last year, according to Home
Office statistics.

The bodies of the couple were found by their police
officer son on Wednesday.

Two people arrested so far are being questioned under
a major investigation codenamed Operation Tiler by the West
Midlands Police.

On Friary Road, where the couple lived, near the
Handsworth Golf Course, four properties had been burgled over
a 12-month period, reports from Birmingham said.

Detective Superintendent Richard Baker, who is
leading the investigation, said gold theft was regarded as a
"significant line of inquiry". Gold prices have risen in the
credit crunch and Asian gold is the purest available.

The police said there had been a spate of gold thefts
in Birmingham and the region in recent weeks.

One jeweller in Birmingham said he feared being targeted
by gold thieves so much that he had stopped displaying
jewellery. The owner, who did not want to be named, told the
local media that said he had been robbed five times in four
years, including one incident where he was followed to his
house and physically attacked.

A former police officer in Birmingham told the Birmingham
Mail that he believed the Kolar couple might have been
targeted for their jewellery by a thief who had stolen
from other homes in the area.

He said: "In my experience burglars in this area
target people for cash and especially jewellery because they
are both easy to move on. If you are a jeweller in
Birmingham`s Jewellery Quarter and someone walks in with a
handful of gold chains, you have no way of truly establishing
where they came from".

He added: "Asian families are particularly at risk
from this sort of crime because, rightly or wrongly, it is
assumed that Asian families - and in particular Indian ones
will have lots of jewellery.

Thieves believe this will often be high quality
24-carat gold, so it is very attractive to criminals."

An Indian-origin couple living near the Kolars`
house said they were attacked outside their home recently.

Sorakhsha Ram, 49, said that soon after she met
her husband, Kashaw, in their driveway two thugs jumped out of
a car and demanded their car keys.

The robbers attacked him when he refused and threw
his keys into a neighbour`s garden.

The police said the second person arrested today
was 41. Both he and the previously arrested 24-year-old were
being questioned. The police said that forensic post mortem
examinations have been conducted, which confirmed that both
the deceased died as a result of blunt force trauma to the
head.

Both had been struck a number of times. The reward of
10,000 pounds put up by crime-fighting charity organisation
Crimestoppers continues to be available to anyone providing
information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the
persons responsible for this crime.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, January 15, 2012 - 20:05

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