Masked dacoits struck at the residence of a rice mill owner at Anna Nagar in Manapparai town in the small hours of Monday and looted 90 sovereigns of gold jewellery, huge amount of cash, and silver articles .

The seven-member gang gained entry into the house of M. Durai, who also owns a grocery shop in Manapparai, after breaking open the front door using a crowbar.

Armed with knives, the dacoits covered a portion of their face to shield their identity using clothes that were hung inside the house and threatened Durai and his family members to part with the valuables. Police sources said the gang looted gold jewellery, Rs. 4.34 lakh in cash and five kilograms of silver articles and decamped from the spot through the front door.

The Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Tiruchi Range, A. Amalraj, and Superintendent of Police R. Lalitha Lakshmi inspected the crime scene and conducted inquiries. Fingerprint experts and scientific assistants were called in and a ‘tracker’ dog was brought to the spot to track the route taken by the unidentified culprits.

The Manapparai police have registered a case under IPC section 395 (dacoity). Special teams have been constituted to probe the case and apprehend the gang .

The dacoity comes days after a major burglary at Punjab National Bank ATM at Kollidam in the city’s outskirts where burglars looted over Rs. 21 lakh cash in March end.