Had run away from home in his childhood and come to city

Mohammed Hussain alias Ghouse, who the police arrested on charges of being involved in as many as 18 temple burglaries in the State capital, has turned out to be an interesting person.

Ghouse, who used the nom de guerre of Srinivas Reddy, is known to have visited many temples including Tirumala. He was also stated to have installed a Ganesh idol and erected a pandal at Moosarambagh during Ganesh Chaturthi a few years ago. He had even applied for permission to install the idol at Malakpet using the name of Srinivas Reddy.

“He had even tonsured his head once to convince others that he was a religious man,” police said.

Formally announcing the arrest of Ghouse and his accomplice Shaik Hyder, Commissioner of Police Anurag Sharma said that the arrested man who was 22 years of age hailed from Kurnool and was involved in crimes earlier. He had run away from home during his childhood and had come to the city. He started living in the Nandanavanam slum at Karmanghat. During 2006 and 2008, he broke into a few houses. After being held in those cases, he was sent to a juvenile home for three years.

“He was arrested in a few house break-in cases and another temple burglary case in Malakpet and was convicted. He was released from prison eight months ago,” Mr. Sharma said.

There was no specific motive that drove him to target temples. He gained an expertise of sorts in breaking locks using an iron rod. Ghouse and Shaik would conduct a reconnaissance of temples by posing as rag pickers. Sometimes, they would carry a tricycle garbage carrier and in a few cases they used a bike as well. They struck mostly between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

During interrogation, they admitted to 18 temple burglaries, five of which were committed in the Cyberabad commissionerate area. Among the temples they broke into were that of Mahankali at Lal Darwaza and Uppuguda and Durga Maisamma at Golnaka.

The involvement of Ghouse in the temple burglaries was identified by Central Crime Station Inspector P. Venkatagiri, whose painstaking efforts led to his arrest eventually. Two kilos of stolen silver ornaments and articles were recovered from the accused.

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