Gang of audacious jewellery robbers held

Gang of audacious jewellery robbers held

Gang of audacious jewellery robbers held

 A gang of four, which robbed 9.3 kg of gold jewellery from different stores in and around Bengaluru since 2011 and  invested the  money in real estate, has finally been caught. The gang was the brainchild of two jobless brothers who wanted to lead a lavish lifestyle.  

Police identified the members of the gang as Saamrat Shivamurthy alias Shivu (30), his brother Shivakumar alias Shankar (26), both from Kothanur, and two of their associates, Nivesh Kumar, (29), of Ramamurthy Nagar, and Jagadish (34), from Sangli, Maharashtra.  Shivamurthy was the mastermind, according to police.    

The gang operated flawlessly until a botched attempt at Chemmanur Jewellers in North Bengaluru's Subramanya Nagar on February 19  led  the police on its chase. Previously, the gang had conducted successful heists at  the company's stores in Peenya and Chikkaballapur.  

At Chemmanur Jewellers' branch in  Subramanya Nagar, Shivamurthy attacked a security guard with three petrol bombs in an attempt to barge into the store. But one of the bombs went off in his backpack. Another guard got alerted and fired twice in the air. Shivamurthy suffered burns, and the gang had to abort the operation and flee to Devanahalli.  The incident was caught on camera.  Police later tracked down the brothers from their house in Vinayakanagar, Devanahalli.  

A senior police officer marvelled at the gang's ability to pull off audacious heists. Its first target was Santosh Jewellers in Ramamurthy Nagar in 2011. It made off with  8  kg of gold and other valuables. The second heist was carried out at Chemmanur Jewellers in Peenya in 2012. The third robbery, at  Chemmanur Jewellers in Chikkaballapur in January 2017, yielded 600 grams of gold jewellery.  

Shivamurthy had dropped out of school while Shivakumar, a BCom graduate, was jobless. Shivakumar received tuition for the civil services exams but dropped out after failing in the prelims.  

Nivesh Kumar, a close friend of Shivakumar's, worked as a facility manager at an MNC before quitting the job and joining the brothers in  2011-12.  Jagadish was a conduit, taking the booty to other states and selling if off there. He once managed to smuggle the booty to Sri Lanka to sell it there.  

The gang members watched over 50 Hollywood films and videos of real-life robberies. Each member was assigned a specific task  during the course of the robbery. Shivamurthy even  travelled to China and bought bullet-proof jackets to be used  if the police ever fired at them.  The suspects also learnt how to make petrol bombs to target armed guards.

Chetan Singh Rathore, DCP (North), said the gang sold off 8 kg of gold jewellery and opened  a real estate agency called SR Business solutions in Yelahanka. It even purchased 11 acres of land in Sira, Tumakuru district, and spent lavishly on vehicles and branded goods. It, however, suffered losses and decided to  carry out another heist.  

Police have recovered Rs 43 lakh worth of gold jewellery, two cars worth Rs 57 lakh, three motorcycles and expensive gadgets and apparels worth Rs 1 core from the gang.