A panchaloha idol and gold ornaments were found missing from Mariamman temple in Mannadimangalam near Sholavandan here on Sunday morning.

Police said that the incident came to light when the priest came around 5.30 a.m. for the margazhi pooja. He was shocked to find the temple door broken open and the panchaloha idol weighing 35 kg and also 11-sovereign gold ornaments adorning the deity, missing.

The valuables include gold chain, dollar and gold coins.

The burglars would have stolen the idol and escaped in a two-wheeler under the cover of darkness, suspected Kanthasoruban, DSP (Samayanallur).

“We have advised the temple management to form a committee to maintain a register containing details about the donors, since they failed to furnish details of those who donated the jewels,” he said.

Sniffer dog and finger print experts were pressed into service.

Two finger prints were lifted from the crime scene, police said.

What has shocked the police was that the crime was committed in a temple that was situated in the midst of a congested residential colony in Mannadimangalam village.

V. Balakrishnan, Superintendent of Police, Madurai and Kanthasoruban, DSP (Samayanallur) visited the crime scene and conducted preliminary enquiries.

A special team has been formed to nab the culprits. Based on a complaint lodge by the temple priest, the Kadupatti police have registered a case.