A suspect involved in more than 50 robberies has been arrested by the Athurugiriya Police.
The suspect 30 year-old Sumith Jayaweera, from Delgoda who is currently under a detention order was involved in robberies in the Nugegoda, Maharagama, Athurugriya, Piliyandala, Katunayaka, Biyagama, Beddagana, Kadawatha and several areas in Colombo, police said.
The man operated on his own and often selected housing schemes as he was well aware that the inter-relations among the occupants in a scheme was not strong as in a village and therefore had a better chance of getting away undetected.
“He knew that neighbours may not pay heed even if they heard a noise or even question a stranger hovering in the area,” Athurugiriya OIC Kapila Senanayake told the Sunday Times.
The man was responsible for robbing jewellery amounting to more than 35 sovereigns, 30 laptops, mobile phones, digital cameras, foreign currency among other things.
The man had spent his money on drugs and patronizing high – class brothels, police said.
The lead to the man’s arrest came in an unexpected manner. A group of villagers in Pittugala, Athurugirya detained a man on suspicion as he was loitering in the area and informed the police, but the man managed to escape but not before leaving behind his identity card which had been taken by a villager to be examined.
Police thereafter had been on the trail for the man for nearly one month during which they traced the mobile phones used by him.
Police used a woman police constable (WPC) to call the man on the pretext of building up a relationship. The WPC eventually said she wanted to meet the man and he agreed.
Police in civvies arrested the man as he arrived for the appointment with the WPC.
The suspect had nearly been arrested on an earlier occasion, but had managed to escape without being detected.
The man had got into a house in Robert Gunawardena Mawatha, Battaramulla and when the burglar alarm had gone off a neighbour had alerted the police. As the police arrived the man escaped through a window. Police and villagers had given chase for about three kilometres before giving up.
After his arrest the man confessed that on the particular day after he was given chase he ran through a paddy field and scaled a wall and jumped into another house.
He told the police that he had stolen gold jewellery from that house too and changed into a Denim trouser and shirt taken from the house and left to avoid suspicion.
He had passed several persons who had given chase to him earlier but had gone undetected as they were looking for a man in shorts without his shirt.
The man had claimed he usually robbed houses at day time when the inmates were out and usually walked two to three kilometres to select houses which he would break into later. He selected the houses carefully by picking on houses which were closed for long periods or houses which are locked, he had told the police.