Bells weighing 750-kg worth Rs. 10 lakh recovered; The accused had also stolen temple bells in Periyapatna, Hassan, Mysuru and Chamarajanagar
Madikeri: The Kodagu Special Police team have cracked various cases of temple bell thefts in the district by arresting four inter-district robbers, who are members of the same family.
Addressing a press conference, Kodagu Superintendent of Police (SP) M.A. Aiyappa said that those arrested are 37-year-old Amjad Ahmed, 22-year-old Samilulla alias Sami, 36-year-old Zulfikar alias Zullu and 36-year-old Hyder, all residents of Kesare in Mysuru.
The Police have recovered temple bells made of various metals weighing 750-kg and worth Rs. 10 lakh, besides seizing a car used for the crime from them.
From February to October in 2022, eight cases of temple bell thefts were registered at various Police Stations in the district. The accused had stolen hundreds of bells from Gonikoppa Mayamudi Kamate Sri Mahadeva Temple, Kala Bhyraveshwara Temple at Nittur Karmadu in Ponnampet, Bilur Kallugudi Eshwara Temple, Basagur Mahadeva Temple, Sri Durgi Temple, Halligatti Bhadrakali Temple, Eshwara Temple at Karada Maletirike in Virajpet, Kedamallur Sri Mahadeva Temple and Napoklu’s Sri Makki Sasthav Temple, by damaging the CCTV cameras.
The SP said that a special team comprising 30 Police personnel was formed to nab the robbers, who collected CCTV footages and technical evidences to nab the culprits. The Special Police Team, which collected mobile tower locations of mobile phones which were active at the spot during the thefts and also call details since three months, went to Mysuru where they camped for three months.
The team which collected footages of CCTV cameras installed from the spot of crimes till Mysuru were successful in arresting the accused along with the stolen temple bells, he added.
The SP further said that the accused used to melt the bells and sell the metal to industries. Before committing the thefts, the accused used to collect information and later damage CCTV cameras during night and steal the bells, he added besides stating that the accused used metal cutters and transport the stolen bells in a Delhi registration Hyundai Getz car (DL-4C-AG-8070).
Continuing, the SP said that the accused had also committed temple bell thefts at various places including Periyapatna, Hassan, Mysuru and Chamarajanagar, which came to be known during interrogation and information pertaining to temple bell thefts has been sought from the respective Police Stations.
Stating that all the accused belonged to the same family, he said that they had no connections with anyone in Kodagu and added that more investigation is going on besides expressing doubts on the car seized by the Police, who are verifying the documents.
Along with hundreds of bells, the accused had also stolen two bells weighing 80 kg and 120 kg.
The Police had brought all the bells stolen by the accused in a mini goods vehicle. The bells were segregated according to the cases registered in various Police Stations during the press meet.