Holy man by day, criminal by night: Pinjore priest wanted for over 60 burglaries nabbed
The priest’s arrest came following a probe into theft of cash and jewellery from the house of a businessman in November
In a major breakthrough, Mohali police have arrested a temple priest who they say is behind over 60 cases of burglary in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
The notorious thief, identified as Ravi Kumar, alias Ravi Pujari, 40, was nabbed from Sector 11, Panchkula, following a probe into the November 13 theft of jewellery worth crores and ₹10 lakh cash from the Phase-2 house of a businessman, Sanjeev Garg.
A resident of Pinjore, the accused worked as a priest at a temple in the town’s Surajpur area during the day and executed the burglaries at night, said police.
With the arrest, police have recovered cash, and gold and diamond ornaments worth around ₹1.5 crore stolen from the Phase-2 house. A scooter, stolen by the accused from Zirakpur, was also recovered.
In his complaint, Garg had alleged that while the whole family was asleep on the first floor in the wee hours of November 13, the thief entered his house from the ground floor, broke the lock of an almirah and decamped with the jewellery and cash.
The family got to know about the burglary around 6 am, following which Garg lodged a complaint with the police.
Ravi, who got released from the Ambala jail in April this year, was identified through CCTV cameras, said police.
He was previously also arrested in 2016 by a joint team of the Chandigarh and Panchkula police team after he burgled the house of a Panchkula-based judge.
“Earlier the Haryana and Chandigarh Police had arrested the accused, but he has been nabbed by the Punjab Police for the first time. He was involved in two burglaries in the Nayagaon area and over 60 thefts in multiple states in the region,” said Sandeep Garg, senior superintendent of police.
“We have recovered around ₹1.5 crore pertaining to a single case from Phase 2. We are hopeful of solving many more previous theft cases during our interrogation. We will seek long custody from the court,” the official added.
Lone wolf used to strike at night
According to the police, Ravi operated alone, making it difficult for the police to get information about him.
Investigators said Ravi was found to have a luxurious house in Surajpur, Pinjore, besides a huge temple, built at a cost of over ₹50 lakh next to his house, even though he didn’t have any source of income other than donations.
Both his house and temple have numerous exit points that he had built to dodge the cops if they ever traced him, they said.
Earlier in a joint operation, the Chandigarh and Panchkula police had recovered expensive watches, and gold and silver jewellery, besides gold and silver crockery from the temple, worth around ₹1.5 crore.