Who robbed celebrity’s home
The police had then examined CCTV footage near the residence of Dr. Peries and identified a suspicious three wheeler
With the arrest of the five suspects over the theft of the ‘Ranamayura’ lifetime achievement medal of filmmaker the late Dr. Lester James Peries, a more expansive and a rooted organised crime of ransacking funerals of popular personnel was revealed by the Police.
This suggests that the medal of Dr. Peries that went missing was one of many such stolen valuables from funerals by a gang. The group consists of men aged between 46 to 64 that pick and chose well-attended funerals of popular personalities such as artistes or other public figures and then systematically rob valuable items such as phones. Their victims could be the sympathizing visitors, family members of the deceased or even the deceased itself.
These facts came to light when the Ranamayura medal went missing on May 2 (Wednesday) morning while Dr. Peries’ funeral service was still in progress. After much publicity was given by the media to this theft, the missing medal was found on an overhead rack of a private bus plying on the Kollupitiya-Kaduwela route on Saturday.
Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara said at a press briefing that the arrested suspect is a member of a group of thieves who had been engaging in thefts at crowded events and VIPs funeral in Colombo and its suburb.
He said five suspects were arrested over the theft of the medal while another suspect who was an owner of a mobile phone shop was arrested on charges of possessing stolen mobile phones.
The Bambalapitiya police launched the investigation into the incident after a relative of the late filmmaker had complained to the police over the phone stating that the lifetime achievement medal had been stolen.
The police had then visited the residence of the late Dr. Peries’s on Wednesday evening. The law enforcement officers had also received a complaint from another relative stating that her apple i-phone worth Rs. 100,000, which was kept on the cabinet, was also stolen along with the medal.
The police had then visited the residence of the late Dr. Peries’s on Wednesday evening. The law enforcement officers had also received a complaint from another relative stating that her apple i-phone worth Rs. 100,000, which was kept on the cabinet, was also stolen along with the medal
Police examined the video footage obtained from electronic media institutions and they were able to learn that the mobile phone was being stolen by someone at around 11.00 am on the day of the funeral but could not trace the identity of the suspect because the face was not recorded.
The police had then examined CCTV footage near the residence of Dr. Peries and identified a suspicious three wheeler with three persons aboard who had later attended the funeral.
When the investigation into the three wheeler was conducted, the Bambalapitiya and Kollupitiya Police stations received an anonymous telephone call on Saturday morning stating that the medal was on the NC- 2752 private bus on the Kaduwela-Kollupitiya route.
Two police teams were deployed in Kollupitiya and Green Path areas to intercept the bus following the information that was received. The driver and the conductor of the bus had handed over the medal to the police personnel who boarded the bus from Green Path.
The driver and conductor said in their statements to the police that they were on their way to the police to handover the medal after they found it inside the bus on Saturday evening.
They told the police that they had recovered a parcel after a passenger informed them. According to one of the statements, the driver had also received an anonymous call where the caller had requested that the recovered parcel be handed over to the police.
The Bambalapitiya Police had then commenced an investigation to apprehend the suspects in connection with the theft. They were unable to trace the mobile phone number because all the mobile service providers had closed shop for the long weekend.
On Saturday evening, the police commenced an investigation to find details of the suspicious three wheeler. They were able to identify that its registered owner was a woman and resided in Kiriwaththuduwa.
The woman informed the police that her father was using the three wheeler and he was residing at Kothalawala in Kaduwela. The Police then visited her father’s residence and identified him as one of the men who appear on the CCTV footage obtained from one of the houses near Dr. Peries’ residence. The police arrested the 61-year-old suspect, Percy Chandrasiri Alwis along with the three wheeler.
Police arrested the owner of the shop on charges of possessing stolen mobile phones. The police recovered eight other similar mobile phones from the shop
The Police arrested another three suspects after questioning the first suspect. The three suspects were arrested near Kaduwela area when they were travelling in a three wheeler from Gampola and heading towards Colombo.
The three arrested suspects, 64-year-old Nawaratna Banda alias Ralahami, 60-year-old Ananda Rohana and 46-year-old Nawasiyam were identified as residents of Gampola and Navalapitiya.
The fifth suspect, 47-year-old Suduhakuru Sisira Kumara, was arrested on Sunday near the Sugathadasa Stadium where a UNP May Day rally was in progress.
Police said that three of the five suspects had travelled in the seized three wheeler while the other two had travelled in a bus to steal the medal and the mobile phone from the filmmaker Dr. Lester’s residence.
Police recovered the apple mobile phone from a mobile phone shop at Nawalapitiya after it had been sold at a price of Rs.4,000.
Police arrested the owner of the shop on charges of possessing stolen mobile phones. The police recovered eight other similar mobile phones from the shop.
SP Gunasekara said the gang of thieves had been selling stolen mobile phones to the shop owner.
The police spokesman said that they would inform the Attorney General about the suspects and request them to be charged in High Court. He said strict legal actions would be taken against the suspects.
They were produced in Hulftsdorp Magistrates’s Court for an identification parade and were remanded till May 21.
IP Ekanayake, Police Sargent Ekanayaka (8594), Gamage (11524), Constables Sanath (36070), Sudeera (74424) and Jayasinghe (88848) of Kollupitiya Police Crime Division, SI Ajith Metthananda, Constables Jayasinghe (49857), Athula (55354), Piyadasa (56374), Ruwan (68896), Kumara (67314), Vasala (71146), Nadeera (76430), Silva (81778), Weerawansa (89081) and Gunawardane (80641) of the Bambalapitiya Police Station conducted the investigation under the instructions of Bambalapitiya OIC Chief Inspector Ashoka Mahinda Weerakkody, Colombo South 1 ASP Dayaratna, Colombo Crimes Division ASP Prasanna de Alwis, CCD Director SP Nishantha de Zoysa, Colombo South SSP Saman Yatawara, Colombo Division DIG Lalith Pathinayake and Western Province DIG Nandana Munasinghe.