Culprit, wanted in over 25 burglary cases, had sold the stolen jewellery and purchased new items to pledge for cash

A 23-year-old man wanted by the police since 2009 in over 25 burglary cases was arrested on Wednesday evening.

The culprit Manjunatha first stole from his grandmother when he was in school, the police said.

For the past four years, numerous cases of house break-ins, reported in Maduravoyal and adjoining places, remained unsolved. To nab the culprits, city police commissioner S. George had instructed his officers to chalk out a plan to prevent the burglaries.

Special teams were formed for this purpose. The team pursued various strategies including strengthening patrolling and neighbourhood surveillance, and checking locked houses.

Head constable Solomon, part of a special team headed by Senthil Kumar, assistant commissioner of police, Koyambedu, secured Manjunatha, on suspicion on Wednesday.

The police said during interrogation, Manjunatha said he was from Shimoga district in Karnataka. After completing middle-school, he moved to his grandmother’s house in Tiruvanamalai. He later moved to Maduravoyal with his parents and had been living there since 2008. He also completed computer courses.

“He started stealing money from his grandmother for watching movies and later swiped Rs. 45,000 from his uncle’s account using his debit card,” said Senthil Kumar.

After working in a BPO for a while, he resigned as he was not well-versed in English. He then started committing thefts and initially targeted houses in his neighbourhood. In the past four years, he had struck at more than 25 places and looted 311 sovereigns of jewellery worth Rs. 65 lakhs.

Manjunatha sold the stolen gold in well-known jewellery shops in the city.

He had sold the ornaments on over 80 occasions in the past four years in various shops in T. Nagar. Manjunatha then purchased new jewellery and pledged them in different financial units. He always provided his own name and address, the police said.

According to the police, whenever he was stopped by patrol teams at night, he claimed he was a BPO staff member returning home after work and managed to get away. With the money obtained from the loot, he had purchased two plots of land and also invested in different companies.

Chennai city police is now working on a strategy to prevent jewellery shops from accidentally purchasing stolen items.

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