A group of 19 locals and Sri Lankan Canadians have been stolen of cash and jewellery while on holiday at the heavily fortified - Command Headquarters- Eastern Naval Area, Trincomalee, on Tuesday night, the Daily Mirror learns.
The rogues had broken into the Bungalow located within the premises at which 19 persons including 11 females were staying. Initial observations of the group had revealed stolen cash and jewellery amounting to over 300,000 rupees.
“ We were completely devastated when we found out early next morning,” one of the tour group members told the Daily Mirror. According to the holiday makers which included family and extended family including Canadian citizens they had immediately informed the Naval Police upon discovery early morning on Wednesday.
The holiday makers had been staying at the Forest Side Holiday Resort located within the premises and under the supervision of the Navy when the incident had occurred.
“From the time they ( the naval Police) walked in at 5.45 am they seemed to not want to find out what happened. Instead they checked our entire group and went in circles. Frustrated by this I asked them to secure the location and obtain finger prints to which they said there was no need,” Jayalath Samarakkody told the Daily Mirror.
Navy Spokesperson Commander Dinesh Bandara confirmed the incident and said it was being investigated.
“We don’t take a theft of this nature lightly. A separate investigation into the theft is ongoing by the Navy and the Police have also been informed. The Holiday makers had said they wanted to leave for Canada and decided not to make a complaint to the Police. However, we are taking this incident very seriously and investigations are ongoing” he said.
The group of tourists had arrived had the Eastern Command Naval base on Monday, January 29 as a part of a family outing.
“The entire family included a group of 46 people stayed at 3 different bungalows within the command. 19 of us stayed at the Forest Side Holiday Resort at which the incident occurred” Samarakkody said.
According to those present, they had slept at around 11.30 pm on Tuesday night after securing all entrances to the Bungalow. They had all slept in 3 rooms due to the in operation of one of the Air Conditioners in one of the rooms.
“We woke up between 4.30 and 5 the next morning because we were to leave back to Colombo. Then we realized some of the belongings were missing. Upon further inspection we saw that a window and doors were opened. We immediately informed the Naval Police who arrived at the Bungalow” Lalitha Padmini said.
She said that they were perturbed by the reactions of the officers.
“We were shocked. The main thing they should’ve done was to either immediately call the Police or take over and investigate. Instead they wanted our group checked which they did and found nothing. And thereafter nothing else was done” she said.
Relating the experience, Samarakkody, a Canadian citizen said: “There were 19 of us and none of us woke up. We were staying at a heavily fortified area and they rouges knew the dimensions of it in detail. That’s how they entered. I can’t understand why the scene wasn’t secured and finger prints not taken or the fact that the Police were not called in” he said.
Instead Samarakkody said that they were asked to proceed with a Police complaint by the Naval Police at around 12.00 Noon after the group was searched for 6 hours.
“We had already spent our entire morning and afternoon undergoing this .We just wanted to leave the place. Some of us had flights to catch the next day ( today) so we wanted to leave the place as fast as possible” he said.
However Samarakkody said that the Naval Police had refused to let them leave the premises without signing a statement which said that they did not require further investigation into the issue.
“We were told to sign that our complaint was only made for the purpose of informing and not for the purpose of investigation- which is ridiculous. But we had to abide by it because we wanted to leave” he said.
Samarakkody further said that he was informed by the Officer in Charge of the Naval Police that a bus had left the premises at 5 am that morning.
“I told him to stop the bus or search it. They could have at least found some clue. But they didn’t seem interested” he said. (Hafeel Farisz)