Penamaluru police arrested a gang of five who allegedly murdered six people and ransacked their homes. According to reports, the defendants planned the murders during the pandemic as the victims’ family members would have no doubt about their death.
The police had arrested two people as part of the investigation into an attempt to loot an ATM in the center of Poranki. On the basis of the suspects’ confessions, they took three other people into custody, and during questioning the defendants are said to have confessed to the killings.
Those arrested were identified as V. Prabhu Kumar, S. Gopi Raju, P, Chakravarthy and M. Naga Durga Rao, all drivers, and M. Phaneendra Kumar, painter.
They are said to have murdered Nalini (58) and Seeta Mahalakshmi (63) from Poranki in October and November last year. In December, they are also said to have killed a couple Nageswara Rao, 85, and Prameela Rani, 75, from Kanchikacherla in Krishna district.
The defendants are said to have killed Dhanalakshmi, 58, from Tadigadapa in January of this year and Papamma a few days ago on the outskirts, said Police Commissioner B. Srinivasulu at a press conference on Thursday.
The Modus operandi the gang was to perform “recce” during the day, identify seniors and kill them at night. The gang reportedly broke into homes by opening the bolts from the outside, killed the victims by suffocating them, and escaped with gold and cash, Srinivasulu said.
“Out of a total of six murders, only one case was registered with the police, and in other incidents, their family members failed to report because they believed they had died of COVID-19,” said Y. Srinivas Reddy, deputy police commissioner the Central Zone.
“The gang carried out ‘Recce’ in Tenali and Mangalagiri in Guntur District and in Vuyyuru, Kankipadu and Penamaluru on the outskirts of Vijayawada, with plans to kill 12 more people and ransack their homes. Had the gang not been arrested now, they would have carried out their plans, ”said Penamaluru CI M. Satyanarayana.
In addition, the gang is said to have committed theft in many homes in the past 10 months. Taking advantage of COVID and the curfew, the gang planned the murders, said Vikrant Patil, the deputy commissioner of Police-2 (law and order).