The city police, after an investigation lasting one-and-a-half months, on Friday nabbed six persons, including two women, who were allegedly involved in the sensational heist at Pangode Residential Cooperative Society at Edapazhanji here.
Those arrested were identified as Jack, 29, of Irachikkulam, Thovala, Nagercoil; Saji alias Renju, 26, of Nediyara, Anchal; Sajith Chandran alias Chanthu, 29, of Punnaykkamukal, Thirumala; Renjith, 25, of Mudavanmugal, Poojappura; Latha, 64, residing at the servants’ quarters of military camp, Pangode; and Vijayamma, 53, of 40th settlement colony, Thenmala. City Police Commissioner T J Jose told mediapersons here that they were held from various places in the state and outside.
The burglary, in which around 300 sovereigns of gold and Rs 1.5 lakh in cash were stolen, had taken place on October 22. Police said that they have seized a portion of the stolen jewellery, while the rest was sold by the culprits. “They used a part of the money to pay advance to purchase 50 cents of land at Puzhalkkonam in Tamil Nadu and land in Thenmala and for other purposes,” said Jose.
Vijayamma is the mother of Shyju, the prime suspect in the case who is absconding. Police said that she used a portion of the money from the theft to open a fixed deposit and to pay advance for land at Thenmala.
The gang which carried out the theft also included Aji, a native of Parassala; and Reji of Pathanamthitta. Police said that some of the gang members are also accused in the robbery at Kalluppara temple in Pathanamthitta. Jack had befriended Shyju and Aji in a jail in Tamil Nadu.
The main lead in the investigation was obtained following a search focusing on similar kind of thefts which occurred in the state and in Tamil Nadu and on the accused in such cases.
The Pangode theft was the result of planning that lasted several months. The accused rented a car and visited many other banks before finalising on the Society as their ‘destination’, the police said. They visited the Society several times before giving final shape to their modus operandi.
The police said that those arrested had tried to kill the pet dog of a house near the Society by mixing poison in meat two days before the burglary. The next day, they stole a gas cylinder from a workshop near Vijayamohini mill. It was Latha, mother- in -law of Shyju, who bought and handed over the poison to the gang. She was a maid at the house of one of the Army officers and so was provided accommodation at the servants’ quarters at the military camp in Pangode.
The police team also seized the gas cylinder and the gas cutter which the culprits used to break open the window bars.
The gang carried out robberies after conducting ‘poojas’ in the name of each of the members. ‘Poojas’ were conducted also for the tools and the keys of the vehicles to be used in the thefts. The police said that this was to divert the attention of the police as there was a North Indian gang carrying out crimes after conducting ‘poojas.’
The gang members were arrested by a team consisting of Assistant Commissioners D Vijayan and K E Baiju and Circle Inspectors Mohanan Nair, Prathapan Nair and Pramod Kumar.