Temple theft: 5 inter-state thieves held

Temple theft: 5 inter-state thieves held

Dakshina Kannada district police have nabbed five inter-state thieves on the charge of stealing valuable articles from temples. Addressing mediapersons here on Monday, Superintendent of Police Bhushan G Borase said there were totally six suspects, but one among has died in a road accident.

The arrested are Chandrakanth Poojary (36) of Manki in Honnavar taluk in Uttara Kannnada, Narasimharaju alias Basavaraju (38) of Doddaballapur  taluk in Bengaluru Rural district, Navinchandra Baan Singh (21), Vijaya Suresh Bhonsle (35) and Vishal Ponke (21) of Lokamanya Nagar, Thane West, Maharashtra.

Borase said the arrested had stolen gold and silver articles worth Rs 12.5 lakh in the last six months from Sri Panchalingeshwara Temple, Ishwaramangala, Puttur; Sri Panchalingeshwara Temple, Uruwalu, Belthangady; Sri Durgaparameshwari Temple, Anaru, Patrame, Belthangady; Sri Vishnumurthy Temple, Savanuru, Puttur; Sri Umamaheshwari Temple, Balya, Puttur; Sri Anantapadmanabha Temple, Ramakunja, Puttur; Sri Ullalthi Ammanavara Temple, Nuji, Puttur; Sri Mahalingeshwara Temple, Rayi, Bantwal; Sri Durgaparameshwari Temple, Adyapadi, Mangaluru and Sri Subrahmanya Temple, Thokur, Mangaluru.

Chandrakanth Poojary is involved in thefts in Mumbai, Udupi, Kundapur, Chitradurga and other places. Narasimharaju, who is a graduate, had carried out thefts in Rajanukunte, Chikkapete in Bengaluru and Perduru, Karkala in Udupi. But Prakash Mandya, one of the members of the gang, died in a road accident in Nelamangala, Bengaluru Rural district, while returning after a theft at Ullalthi Ammanavara Temple, Nuji, Puttur, two months ago. Poojary had suffered minor injuries in the accident.

The arrested have committed theft in Karnataka and Maharashtra states. They have been targetting temples which lack security measures, such as security guards, CCTV cameras and burglar alarms. They were selling the stolen articles to Vishal, a small merchant of Mumbai, by making him believe that they were the antique ornaments from the temples. The amount obtained from the sale of the articles were shared equally by the suspects. The police have seized 22 kg silver and 75 gram gold ornaments worth Rs 12.5 lakh from Vishal’s shop.

The seized valuables would be handed over to the temple authorities after obtaining permission from the court. The SP said a special investigation team was formed to trace the suspects after series of thefts reported from temples. The  District Crime Intelligence Bureau (DCIB) police team comprised Additional SP Dr C B Vedamurty, Puttur ASP Rishyanth, DySP Gowrish, DCIB PI Amanulla, Puttur Rural CPI Anil Kulkarni, PSI Abdul Khader, PSI Ratan Kumar, ASI Sanjiva Purusha, Palanivel, Udaya Rai, Iqbal A E, Taranath S, Lakshman and Pravin M Beltangady. The members of Mumbai Tulu Sangha—Suresh Shetty Guruvayanakere, Shekhar Shetty Padangady, Rajesh Shetty Manipal and Kartik Rai Golitottu—have also helped in nabbing the accused. Cash awards were presented to the police personnel who helped in nabbing the suspects.

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