Bengaluru (DHNS): They had almost reached their target, digging an underground tunnel to a jewellery shop in JP Nagar to lay their hands on gold and silver articles, but the trio hit the deadend when cops, alerted by neighbours, arrived at the spot and flushed them out of the hole.
Saleem, Hussain and Kabeer, all natives of West Bengal, are now cooling their heels behind bars. Their associate, Ismail, who came out of the tunnel for a smoke at around 2.30 am, took to his heels on spotting the policemen.
According to the police, the four men had planned to burgle Priyadarshini Jewellers at Sarakki Junction in JP Nagar. They had drilled a small tunnel through a drainage pipe in the past few days and had hit the foundation of the shop.
Posing as customers, the quartet did a recce of the shop on July 14, and the same night, armed with iron rods, scissors, screwdrivers and other tools, they entered the drain near the shop and started digging a tunnel. They would start the work late in the night and go on till early morning, added the police.
There is a pedestrian way atop the drainage pipe and hence the digging went unnoticed. The robbers would have gotten away with their crime if not for an alarm raised by some mourners who had come to pay their last respects to an elderly woman who had died in a house next to the jewellery shop.
Around 2.30 am, some of the men, who were relieving themselves near the drainage pipe, heard somebody hitting the ground from inside the pipe. They immediately informed the night beat police. The cops rushed to the spot and realised a burglary attempt was on.
They informed the control room and summoned more personnel.
A team of 18 cops took two hours to identify the entry point of the tunnel, but failed. Finally, a constable who entered the drainage pipe spotted three men inside. The police threatened to block the pipe if they did not come out immediately.
The trio was taken into custody soon after they came out of the hole. They initially claimed to be Bangladeshis, but later said they were natives of West Bengal. They told the police that they came to Bengaluru to commit thefts.
A few similar thefts at jewellery shops had taken place recently in Hassan, Shivamogga and Mysuru. The police are verifying if the trio was involved in those thefts too, DCP (South) B S Lokesh Kumar said.