All three teens were sent to a correction home and further investigations are on. The police said the teens are addicted to various substances, including whitener, and struck at temples located in isolated areas, where they would make away with jewellery and money from donation boxes.
Officials said the teenagers were school dropouts and had also looted a paan shop in September 2012, before they made away with cigarette packets worth Rs 30,000.
“Last month, we detained one of the three teens who was caught red-handed stealing some objects from a small temple. He divulged the names of his other two accomplices during interrogation, with whom he had broken into several temples in the vicinity in the last few months,” Police Sub-Inspector Sachin Kale of the Vishrantwadi police station said.
Kale said that in July 2012, the trio had targeted a Sai Temple in Vishrantwadi in the night and made away with a silver offering and other valuables, collective worth Rs 48,000. Following this burglary, the three went on temple break-in spree and looted eight other temples in the vicinity.
“After the series of temple burglaries, the pressure from the locals started mounting on us. We managed to nab all three teens, who were behind these burglaries,” Kale said. “On Monday afternoon, we received a tip-off that two teenagers, we were looking for, were smoking ganja near a paan shop that was in the Vishrantwadi police station jurisdiction. We laid a trap and detained them.” The team that nabbed the teens comprised Ravi Rathid, Steven Sundaram, Uttam Kadam and Shelar and Sandbhor.