Man wanted in several robbery cases nabbed

The city police on Saturday nabbed one of the most wanted in robbery (in temples) and housebreaking cases in the State. Silver ornaments weighing 17.4 kg and gold (30 grams) were recovered from him. s possession.

The arrested was identified as Santosh Kumar Das alias Prakash Kumar Sahu (42), a native of Bhilai and resident of Nayagarh district of Odisha State.

Addressing the media, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP, crime) T. Ravi Kumar Murthy said that Sahu was born and brought up in Bhilai. After his father neglected him, Sahu took to crime at a very young age to meet the expenses for vices. He committed his first temple robbery in 1998 by targeting the Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada.

After the robbery, he was arrested by the Vijayawada police and sentenced to imprisonment for two years. After release from jail and a brief hiatus, he struck at temples in various places across the State. In 2007, Sahu committed a theft in a Jain temple at Bengaluru, where he made good with ornaments worth Rs. 7.8 crore. He also committed theft in Sri Surya Narayana Swamy temple at Arasavalli. Later, the police arrested him and sent him to jail for one year.

In 2010, Sahu married a woman. After sometime, he again started committing crime from 2012.

In September 2016, Sahu committed four offences in Visakhapatnam, and made good with huge amount of silver from a showroom in Visakhapatnam and Jaggannath Swamy temple at steel plant.

According to the DCP, during interrogation he revealed that he had targeted only temples and that too silver property because the security at temples was negligible and not manned by professional at most places. Moreover, disposing of silver was also an easy task.

Explaining the modus operandi of Sahu, Mr. Ravi Kumar Murthy said that the accused after reaching a location stays in a lodge and conducts recce around the temples. He would use two sharp-edged weapons to break the temple locks. To avoid being detected by the CCTV surveillance cameras, he wears a mask and a cap.

The police said that soon after committing theft, the accused would give the property to some person for polishing and leave the place for some time. He would come back after a month or so and collect the property and then sell the same to different parties.

In several theft cases in Visakhapatnam, he was seen in the CCTV footage and the accused had also left his fingerprints, the police said.

On close watch, the local police came to know that Sahu had come to Visakhapatnam to meet a party at One town, where he was picked up while he was reaching the spot.

The DCP said that the accused had confessed that he had also committed 11 thefts in Odisha, Kurnool, Malakpet of Hyderabad, Cuttack, Vizianagaram, and Rajamahendravaram.

In the last 23 years, Sahu had committed around 50 thefts, Mr. Ravi Kumar Murthy said.

Lifestyle

According to the police, the accused has a own house at his native place of Itamamati area of Odisha. His wife is said to be an advocate in Odisha High Court and his close relatives work in the Police Department in Odisha. The sources further said that Sahu had installed as many as eight CCTV cameras in and around his house apart from having a mini-monitoring room at his residence through which he gets alert in case of any police try to enter his house.

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