Two men break into Andhra temple to ‘find treasure’, arrested

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Andhra Pradesh's Prakasam district police arrested two men on Friday for breaking into the Sri Veerabhadra Swamy temple in Tarlupadu village in October. The two men broke into the temple in the district reportedly with the hope of finding treasure. The police arrested Duru Vajrala Babu (30) and Nallur Ravi (34) for breaking the temple's urn on October 17. Following the break-in, the temple's executive officer E Chennakesava Reddy lodged a complaint with the police.

Prakasam Superintendent of Police (SP) Siddhartha Kaushal formed three teams to nab the thieves, who pored over crime records in Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore districts. They extracted images of suspects from the CCTV footage from the temple premises and juxtaposed it with the photos of the culprits in police crime records. Babu and Ravi are from Pedapudi village in Amruthalur mandal of Guntur district. Monitoring the movements of the duo, the police traced them near the railway station on Kambhan Road and took them into custody on Friday.

On interrogation, the police learnt that Babu and Ravi, who have been arrested, got acquainted with Shiva Prasad and a priest named Ramakrishnachari from Hyderabad. They ganged up to form a team, said the police. "They have a superstitious belief that if they worship and dig in old temples, they will find treasures and diamonds. With that belief and the encouragement of the two, the arrested two accused broke into the temple," said a police official.

The police said they will arrest the other two members of the gang shortly. However, it is not known if the two stole any items from the temple. According to police, Babu was earlier accused in a murder case and a chain-snatching case.

Meanwhile, Prakasam district police installed more than 1,400 surveillance cameras in all the temples and set up committees with volunteers, women police and the village elders. "Prakasam district police are taking all measures for the security of the temples," said the district official.