Saturday, 18th September 2021

Police arrest Mattegoda bank robbers, recover gold and cash

Sri Lanka, Oct. 31 — Three suspects who robbed a state bank in Mattegoda last Friday were arrested by the Mount Lavinia Police yesterday.

Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekera said Rs. 9.351 million in cash and jewellery worth nearly Rs 50 million was recovered.

Last Friday around 3.00 pm three robbers had entered the Mattegoda People’s Bank branch and stolen the jewellery and cash. The three suspects had come armed with a gun and two knives and conducted the robbery by threatening employees at gun point.

Investigations have revealed that the said gun used in the robbery is a fake gun (toy gun).

Mount Lavinia Division SSP Roshan Wijesinghe said the main focus of the investigation was done targeting the mobile phone used by the criminals and CCTV footage. The main suspect who was arrested is the owner of a tyre shop in the area between Homagama and Godagama. Investigations also revealed that he was heavily into debt.

A person from Habarakada, Homagama had come to the tyre shop to purchase tyres and as he had run short of cash, he had left his National Identity Card with the tyre shop owner and gone to obtain more cash. The tyre shop owner had made a copy of his ID and purchased a SIM card using that ID.

Based on the investigations, the police were able to arrest the three main suspects early last morning.

The main suspect (the tyre shop owner) is Dilan Lalinda Sandaruwan, a 34-year-old resident of Weragala Padukka.The second arrested suspect is Kohonge Sampath Indika Kumara, a 40-year-old from Ihala Bope, Padukka and the third suspect is 41-year-old Selvarajah Prabhumoorthi a resident of Pottuvil currently residing in Godagama. The three suspects were arrested while they were in their homes.

The police also managed to recover the gold and cash that was buried in the compound of one of the suspects, on information provided by them.

Of the cash that was stolen, over Rs 8.5 million was recovered so far and 6 kg of gold was was recovered. The value of the gold is over Rs. 40 million. Investigations are continuing to recover the rest of the gold and cash, the Police Spokesman said.

The Police Spokesman warned public to be vigilant when giving their ID to anyone or even when photocopying it to ensure that they take back all such copies of their IDs. He also noted that lawfully armed security guards at financial institutions have the right to shoot anyone trying to rob that institution or trying to forcibly enter it armed.

“They have the right according to the Penal Code. Hence, they don’t need to hesitate in such instances and they can shoot,” he said.

The Police Spokesman warned all criminals that the police will arrest them within a short period if they dare to commit crimes.

He said the file on this case would be sent to the Attorney General and they have sought his advice to file charges against such criminals in the High Court and punish these criminals in the most severe form possible.

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