'Devout' thief steals from Chennai temple but offers prayer to the deity first

The incident happened at the Marundeeswarar Temple on East Coast Road in Thiruvanmiyur.

It's a common practice for believers to pray to god before they begin an important task. A thief in Chennai was no different. The city police are on the lookout for a 'devout' thief who prayed to the deity before he looted two hundials (donation box) from a temple in Thiruvanmiyur. The police are in possession of the CCTV footage and are trying to identify the man.

The incident took place in the wee hours of Friday at the Marundeeswarar Temple on East Coast Road in Thiruvanmiyur. According to the police, who released a few screen grabs from the CCTV footage, a man dressed in a red-blue checkered shirt and light-coloured jeans with a face mask entered the temple, broke open the hundials and escaped with the money.

Speaking to TNM, a policeman from the Thiruvanmiyur station said that they suspect that the man must have jumped into the temple’s compound wall from a nearby building. The temple has a tall compound wall around it, almost double the height of an average man. “In the footage, we can see him coming near the shrine area, praying to the deity. It even seems like he is putting something inside the hundial before breaking it open. It felt like he was praying that his attempt be successful,” the policeman added.

Two hundials kept inside the temple premises were broken, and the police say that they must have had at least Rs 1 lakh as contributions from devotees from the time the temple reopened for the public around a month ago.

The police were alerted by the staff who, in the early hours of Friday, opened the temple to prepare it for the devotees. The police immediately reached the spot and conducted an inspection of the premises. They secured the CCTV footage and are now trying to identify the accused. An FIR has also been registered.

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