Jailer, suspect in attempted bank heist identified by shocked parents

From S. H. Mithrapala, Beliatta
The suspect who was shot dead when trying to rob the Beliatta-Getamanna Rural Bank on 15th April around 12.30 p.m. was identified by his mother, a teacher, and father, a clerk attached to the Ambalantota Peoplised Transport Board company.

At the preliminary inquest held by Acting Magistrate Ranjith Goonasekera on 16th April parents identified the dead person as Lasith Indika Muthukumarana a prison guard attached to the Matara prison. They told that their son got married only three months ago and they couldn’t believe that their son was up to that sort of a crime.

On April 15, the suspect wearing a helmet, faced covered with a white handkerchief, had entered the Bank with a T-56 gun forcing himself through the crowd of customers that had come to deposit money.

The Bank Manager, on seeing the T-56 gun had alerted the two police constables who were inside a room and when one of them came out with the gun the suspect had run out. When the policeman chased after him the suspect had tried to fire at him and when the other constable saw what was going to happen he had put his gun through the window of the room and opened fire. With that the suspect had dropped the T-56 and had run and fallen into an abandoned well that was covered with a zinc sheet.

When the incident was reported to the Beliatta police, the OIC IP Pradeep Wettasinghe had visited the scene with a police party. When the Police who got the man out of the well was to do a body-search on the suspect had taken out on RFG bomb which prompted the OIC to open a fire which killed him on the spot.

Two other accomplices had fled to the nearby jungle and out of them one had been taken into police custody from the "Bajjan Kele" of Getamanna around 5.30 evening, a Honda motor cycle, the number plates of which had been pasted with two bogus numbers, a helmet and the bomb were taken into police custody.

When the aborted attempt to rob the bank was made there had been a large number of customers and the value of cash and jewellery inside the bank had been close upon 3.5 million rupees.

Under the directions of Southern Range DIG, D. W. Pratapasinghe and

Tangalla division sSSP, Willie Abeynayake and under the supervision of Tangalla I ASP, Dias Senanayake further inquiries are being conducted by a team of police officers led by IP Pradeep Wettasinghe and SI Cyril Ranaweera. The body of the suspect is at the mortuary of the Beliatta District hospital for identification.