Kottayam: A habitual offender and his nephew from a Tamil Nadu village who went on a looting spree in Kottayam were nabbed by the police after the fourth break-in in the early hours of Tuesday.
Their accomplice, however, managed to slip away with the stolen gold.
Selvaraj (50) led his brother's sons, Rajkumar (21) and Arul Raj (24), to Kerala on Monday, a day after drawing up a plan in his house in Sivaganga. The brothers are from the Saikudi Sikkal village in Ramanathapuram district.
The trio reached Kottayam in a bus on Monday evening. They bought booze from a retail shop near the bus stand and watched a movie. After 8 pm, they took a bus to Neerikkad near Thiruvanchoor. They hid in a rubber estate until midnight.
Around 12:30 am, they prized open the kitchen door of the targeted house. They manhandled the house owner, P K Roy, and hacked his wife Daisy with a sickle when she tried to stop them. The intruders who were clad only in underwear then made away with her gold chain of two and half sovereigns.
They broke into the house of T.N. Mohanan but had to flee when the residents raised an alarm. Their next stop was the house of Kunjumon, where they snatched a gold chain.
They proceeded to their next target but the police had already reached the spot and all the houses were on alert. The gang hid in a paddy field until the commotion settled.
Once everything fell quiet, they walked into the house of Tijo Kurien and stole his motorbike. They cut the motorbike’s wire and started it without a key. They rode the motorbike and lobbed off the sickle into a tank before bumping into a police party in plainclothes.
Though the thieves had put on the dresses they were carrying in a cover, the marks left by their wet underwear gave them away. When questioned, they gave contradictory answers. Deputy superintendent of police Zachariah Mathew and driver Radhakrishnan quickly subdued the duo.
The thieves were caught unawares by the police team who responded swiftly to the distress call from Neerikad. A police team was in the area within 15 minutes of the first break-in. Within 30 minutes, more than a dozen police vehicles were criss-crossing the area raising an alarm.
Everyone was awake and every house was lit up, making it impossible for the thieves to sneak out.
Selvaraj later admitted that he was not expecting the police to act so fast.
The thieves also confessed to three thefts in Vaikom area. They had broken into Radhakrishnan’s house at Edayazham on April 9 and scooted with two gold bangles of 18 gram, a chain of 12 gram, a ring and Rs 35,000. They had also stolen a motorbike from Sunil Kumar.
Selvaraj had been convicted of several cases in Kumily, Kambammettu and Nedunkandam police station limits in 1997. He got out of the jail only in 2012. He has eight cases pending in his hometown in Sivaganga. He uses mobile phone and GPS but still relies on the tested method of prizing open doors.
The police are on the lookout for the third member of the gang, Arul Raj. He has gone into hiding along with his wife, the police said.
Superintendent of police N. Ramacahandran has declared rewards for all the policemen involved in the operation. ASP Chaitra Teresa John, DySP Zachariah Mathew, narcotics cell DySP K.M. Sajeev, Kaduthuruhi circle inspector K.P. Tomsun, west circle inspector Nirmal Bose, SHO M.J. Arun, Ettumanoor SHO Prashanth Kumar, Gandhi Nagar SGO M.S. Shibu, Manarkad SHO Anoop Jose, shadow team members SI P.V. Verghese, ASIs Ajith, Shibukuttan, CPOs Bijumon, Sajikumar, Shyam Nair, Shejimon, Sinoy, Biju and K.S. Abhilash led the investigation.