Seven persons, including a temple priests, were arrested on charge of stealing bronze idols from two temples.

Sixteen idols were recovered from them, said Deputy Inspector General of Police N. Arivuselvam.

Talking to presspersons here on Wednesday, he said that the arrested were priest Senthil alias Balasubramanian, Karthikeyan and Kamaruddhin of Periakulam, Rajesh of Kallipatti, Ajit Selvam of Perikulam and Rajendran of Palladam and Muthukumar of Periakulam.

“We are in search of four more accomplices - Raja of Thenkarai and Raja of Pudukottai, Sasikala of Dindigul and Rajkumar of Madurai,” he added.

Lack of security and inadequate protection to the temple property were prime reasons for the theft, he noted. A total of 19 bronze idols in Sri Balasubramania Swamy Temple and six from Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple had gone missing two days ago. Within 48 hours of the incident, the police detected the truth and arrested the persons behind the incident.

About 37 bronze idols, mostly processional deities (‘utsavamurthy’), were under the control of the priest. Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department official P. Sudha checked the stock of idols and found that 19 idols, 87 grams of gold jewels and 27 grams of silver items were missing.

Cases were filed under Section 381 of IPC, the police added.

Within 48 hours of the incident, police detected the case; search on for four more accomplices