MADURAI: Streetlights in Pokkampatti village near Thirumangalam went off for around 30 minutes on Friday night. It was not due to an outage but the villagers' attempt at retrieving 26 sovereigns of jewellery and a sum of Rs 22,000 which was looted from a house that day. Without the help of the police, they recovered 25 sovereigns and Rs 20,000 by Saturday morning.
On Friday, 50-year-old R Ragavan and his wife left for work, only to return in the evening to find their house broken open. They found 26 sovereigns of jewellery and a sum of Rs 22,000 cash missing from a bureau. Upset with the burglary, they stepped out of the house and cried. Villagers gathered at the house and learnt about the burglary. Though they did alert the Sindhupatti police about the burglary, no complaint was filed.
With a firm belief that the burglar was a resident of Pokkampatti which has only around 100 houses, the villagers took it upon themselves to crack the case. In a movie-esque way of retrieving the items, the villagers gave a courier parcel envelope to each household. An announcement was made asking the burglar to keep the gold and cash in the envelope and drop it inside a cauldron placed at a common location in the village. The lights were switched off for 30 minutes to provide cover to the person.
Speaking to TNIE, Ragavan said, "The lights were switched off around 7 pm. On examining the envelopes that were dropped in, we found 22 sovereigns in one of them. To recover the cash, we replicated the method on Saturday night as well and recovered Rs 20,000 in an envelope along with three more sovereigns. I am happy to have got back around 95% of the stolen items. We did not want one of our villagers arrested because we all live in harmony and peace."
It may be noted that this is not the first time that the villagers' optimism worked out. Ragavan said a similar successful attempt was made around 40 to 45 years ago. The burglar had then placed jewels between two cakes of cow dung and dropped it in a bucket.