WITH THE arrest of five persons on Monday, police claimed to have solved a robbery of more than Rs 7 lakh at Vajreshwari temple in Bhiwandi taluka. While nearly half of the stolen amount has been recovered, three other members of the gang are still on the run, Thane Rural police said.
According to a complaint lodged by the temple priest at Ganeshpuri police station, on May 10, the gang members had attacked the temple guard and tied him up.
The accused had then broken the donation box and fled with over Rs 7 lakh.
“The accused had entered from the back of the temple. So, there was no CCTV footage of the incident. However, the guard helped us with their descriptions, which matched some of the known miscreants in the area,” said a senior officer.
The accused, identified as Govind Gimbhal (35), Vineet Chimda (19), Bharat Wagh (22), Jagdish Navtare (26) and his brother Pravin Navtare (22), were arrested from Jawhar in Palghar and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
“We managed to identify one accused, a resident of Jawhar, who led us to the others,” the officer said.
“Gimbhal is a resident of Jawhar and the others are from small hamlets in Shahapur taluka. They are all known miscreants and some have been previously booked for robbery, housebreaking and other petty crimes. We have seized close to Rs 3.8 lakh from them,” the officer added.
Police found that the accused had visited the temple regularly to plan the heist.
“On May 10, they entered from the back and attacked the guard. After the guard was gagged and tied up with wires, they broke open the wooden backdoor and fled with the money in the donation box,” an officer said.
He added, “The money was equally divided among the accused, who fled to different areas. We are trying to trace the three other accused.”
A court has remanded the accused in police custody till May 27.