BY VEENA RAO
READ: After Mahalakshmi Temple yesterday, Hindu Temple of Atlanta in Riverdale robbed this afternoon
Atlanta, GA, May 17, 2019: A brazen band of six thieves- three men and three women, stole gold jewelry worth $15,000 off the deities at Sri Mahalakshmi Temple in Cumming, GA in broad daylight on Thursday, May 17th.
Two males distracted the two priests in the sanctum, leading them outside, purportedly for an interview on Hindu religion, temple founder Priest Keshava Murthy told NRI Pulse.
“They first requested one priest to step outside for an interview, which they pretended to record on their cell phone camera. They said the priest did not know sufficient English, so they asked the second priest to join them outside.”
Keshava Murthy had gone home when the burglary took place.
When both priests were outside, the rest of the group, one male and two females, proceeded to take the gold necklaces off the deities. The burglary, which took place around 5.30 pm, was captured on surveillance cameras.
The three women in the group had their head covered. A little girl was accompanying the group.
The priests were stopped from getting back inside the temple during the theft by one of the suspects. It was around 6.30 before the priests noticed the missing ornaments. They called Priest Keshava Murthy, who immediately called the police.
“The whole operation lasted less than 15 minutes,” said Keshava Murthy. “Only gold ornaments were taken. The rest of the jewelry was untouched. It was definitely pre-planned.”
Surveillance video from the previous Saturday shows a family of four- a male, female and two children, take photos of every deity and text them from right inside the temple.
Any information leading to an identification of these individuals, please notify Detective B. O’Haire of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office @ 770-781-2222 ext. 3321.