At TN temple, thief prays, loots and leaves

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CHENNAI: The famous Marundeeswarar temple at Thiruvanmiyur was found looted on Friday morning, when authorities opened the ‘hundials’ (boxes of offerings). CCTV cameras at the shrine caught a man offering prayers in the sanctum sanctorum and offering some cash before breaking open the two hundials and fleeing with the offerings between 12.15am and 1am on Friday. A case has been registered and a hunt launched.
After opening the temple, the priest noticed the locks on both the hundials in front of the sanctum sanctorum broken and alerted the authorities.
The Thiruvanmiyur police were soon informed and a team arrived at the scene and began investigations. Fingerprint experts lifted a few sets of prints from the hundi and from along the temple corridor. A special police team was assigned to examine CCTV camera footage.
The footage, an officer said, showed a young man wearing a mask entering the temple, offering prayers to the deity and even donated some cash. The footage then showed him opening the hundials with an iron rod and a wire and escaping with the offerings. He spent about 45 minutes in the shrine, the officer said.
When questioned, the authorities told police that the temple which had been closed for a long time to prevent the spread of Covid-19 was recently reopened.
Investigators said it would have been difficult to scale the high walls surrounding the temple. “We have been scanning the CCTV camera footage to see how the person sneaked inside. The lights on one side of the temple were not lit. There are a few apartment complexes very close to the temple and the thief could have got on to a wall of the temple from a nearby building,” said an officer.
According to legend, Lord Marundeeswarar taught sage Agastya about a medicine and since then people with incurable diseases and other illnesses have flocked to the temple. Sage Valmiki, who wrote the Ramayana, is believed to have come to the Marundeeswarar temple to worship. The place was known as Thiruvalmikiyur for a long time before it became Thiruvanmiyur.

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