Almost a year after designer jewellery worth about Rs.60 lakh was reported stolen from a hotel at Egmore here, the Chennai Police have identified two foreign nationals allegedly involved in the case.

Investigators tracking Jonathan Augusto (35) of Columbia and Jose Maritio (34) of Ecuador, whose images were captured on surveillance camera, went to Mumbai recently on receiving information that the suspects had booked tickets on a South African airliner. However, they did not turn up.

Weeks later, the police received a tip-off that a native of Ecuador had been apprehended by the Bangalore police at Pune in connection with a similar case. Acting on the instructions of Joint Commissioner of Police (Central) V.A. Ravikumar, a special team went to Bangalore and identified the suspect as Maritio.

During preliminary enquiries, he confessed to the theft in Chennai and claimed that Augusto was in a Malaysian jail after he was arrested in connection with a house burglary case there.

“We are trying to bring the accused to Chennai for interrogation after obtaining a transit warrant. The two were in the habit of stealing designer jewellery. Three passports have been seized from Maritio by the Bangalore police,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Triplicane) T.S. Anbu told TheHindu on Thursday.

Referring to the jewel theft case in Egmore, he said a jeweller, Rahul (40) of Kolkata, had come to participate in an exhibition in Chennai in June last year. The accused stayed in a lodge at Periamet and went to the exhibition posing as friends of Rahul. After the exhibition, they took away a box containing the designer jewellery. The complainant had claimed that the box also contained Rs.4 lakh.

Steps would be taken to extradite Augusto through appropriate agencies. The antecedents of the suspects were being verified, Mr. Anbu added.

Keywords: jewellery theft

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