On Friday, the police finally nabbed a gang of jewel thieves, who had given them the slip multiple times, they recovered 43 kg of gold, two cars worth Rs 57 lakh and gadgets worth Rs 1 crore.
Saamrat Shivamurthy, alias Shivu, and his brother Shankar – sons of a local astrologer – wanted to make it big in life. After completing his B.Com, Shankar had decided to join the civil services but failed in the prelims. The duo wanted to make a quick buck.
“They lost money in the real estate business. The brothers wanted to make money at any cost. They initially planned to rob banks, but that proved difficult. So they decided to strike jewellery showrooms in the city,” Police Commissioner Suneel Kumar said.
Shivu, the mastermind of the heists, was obsessed with watching Hollywood crime thrillers – movies or TV shows.
“We learnt that he got his ideas after watching these crime thrillers. They always managed to escape. So far, they have robbed four jewellery stores in the city. The latest one was on February 19, at Chammanur Jewellers in Subrahmanyanagar,” the Police Commissioner added.
Based on the CCTV footage of the heist, where Shivu and three others made away with gold, the police were able to identify their faces.
“In the video there was Shivu, his brother Shankar and two of their associates – Nivesh Kumar and Jagadish. After being able to identify their faces, we learnt that they were renting a house in Vinayakanagar in Devanahalli, where we arrested them,” Suneel Kumar said.
When the Chammanur Jewellers case was registered at the Subrahmanyanagar Police Station, investigations revealed that Shivu, a high school dropout, and his brother Shankar, had carried out their first heist in 2011.
The brothers had robbed Santhosh Jewellers in Ramamurthy Nagar and Chemmanur Jewellers in Peenya. They had escaped with 8 kg of gold back then.
“They met Jagadish in Sri Lanka, where they had gone to sell the gold and lured him with the promise of money. Nivesh worked as a facilities manager in a multinational corporation there and became friends with Shankar. Shankar convinced him of the fast money they could make and Nivesh agreed to join the gang. His financial problems just made the decision easier,” the Subramanyanagar Police said.
Shivu was in charge of devising the plans, and he took inspiration from the crime thrillers he watched. “He learnt to make petrol bombs and used crackers to spark panic and distract people. Shivu initially used iron rods and a pepper spray, but later switched to making petrol bombs. In April last year, he tried to smuggle a country-made weapon from UP but failed. Shivu also sent Shankar to China to purchase bullet-proof jackets, which were brought into the country by courier,” Suneel Kumar said.
The police have booked the four men for theft.