Woman ‘devotee’ thief arrested


Welikada police officers inspect recovered statues. Pic by Anton Fernando

by Pradeep Samarakoon

The Welikada Police yesterday nabbed a woman who had stolen several Buddha statues, valuable pinnacles and other such items from Sunethraramaya at Mahindarama Road in Ethul Kotte.

Police said that the suspect had stolen several Buddha statues donated by Thailand to the temple. The police recovered some of the items hidden at her home. Among the recovered items were two Buddha statues donated by Thailand, several pinnacles, two brass urns, and a gold plated pot, police said.

It has been revealed that the suspect used to visit the Vihara Geya pretending to be a devotee and steal valuable items. She came riding a scooter and obtained the permission of the chief incumbent to worship inside the Vihara Geya. After the monks opened the doors of the shrine allowing the woman to perform religious observances, she would spirit away the statues etc.

One day a novice bhikkhu noticed the woman stealing a Buddha statue and informed his seniors who subsequently alerted the police. The 34-year-old suspect woman is a resident of Thalapathpitiya in Nuegoda. Further investigations are being conducted under the instructions of Welikada OIC Sudath Asmadala and supervision of Crime Branch OIC SI KPP Priyantha by PCs Navaratne (47207), Jayathunga (53773), Asela (45789) and WPC Hirunika (9614).

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