Tue. May 21st, 2024

New Delhi:

This is one thief who would have probably earned a hat-tip from the Professor in ‘Money Heist’.

The Rs 25-crore jewellery theft in Delhi, the biggest in the national capital in recent memory, was planned and executed by just one man from Chhattisgarh. He would have probably evaded the cops for longer, but for the arrest of another burglar in his state, who told the police that a man had just returned from Delhi after carrying out a “big job”.

The Theft

Lokesh Srivas, who was arrested on Friday morning and is currently in the custody of the Bilaspur Police, came to Delhi alone by bus earlier this month. Police said that he carried out a recce and also found out that his target, Umrao Jewellers in the Bhogal area, stayed shut on Mondays. He broke into the store from the adjacent building around 11 pm on Sunday, September 24.

He stayed in the shop the entire night and, besides stealing the jewellery that was on display, he made his way to the strongroom. He drilled a hole into the wall and took all the ornaments from the strongroom as well. He left the shop, the same way he had come, around 7 pm on Monday – almost 20 hours after he had entered it. 

The owner found out about the theft when he opened the jewellery store on Tuesday, but Srivas was already well on his way to Chhattisgarh by then. 

A police official said Lokesh left the shop and headed to the inter-state bus terminus (ISBT) at Kashmere Gate in Delhi, stopping to buy an additional bag on the way to store his loot.

Luck Runs Out

The Durg Police in Chhattisgarh called the Delhi Police on Thursday and informed them that they had arrested a thief called Lokesh Rao, who had told them during questioning that one Lokesh Srivas had returned to his rented house in Bilaspur after carrying out a “big job” in Delhi

“We found a photo of Lokesh Srivas after an internet search and compared it with the suspects we had identified based on the CCTV footage that we had. We found that the build of the person in the photo matched with that of a suspect in a white shirt and black trousers, carrying a black bag, who was seen in Bhogal market on Sunday,” said an official from the Delhi Police. 

Srivas’ mobile phone was tracked and the police found that it had been switched on at the ISBT in Kashmere Gate on Monday. CCTV footage from the bus terminus showed Srivas buying a ticket at 8.40 pm. The footage showed him carrying two bags. 

Stakeout

A Delhi Police team left for Chhattisgarh on Thursday itself and reached Smriti Nagar in Bilaspur, where Srivas lives in a rented home, with teams from the Durg Police and Raipur Police. The cops waited outside the house for the entire night and arrested Srivas when he reached home at 5.45 am on Friday.

“Srivas is currently in the custody of the Bilaspur Police,” said a Delhi Police official.

By admin