Police find loot in temple flat

Police questioned five devotees of the Hare Krishna movement last night after stolen computers, digital and video cameras and watches were allegedly found in their possession.

Lautoka High Court judge Justice John Connors, whose home was broken into last week, managed to retrieve his laptop from the loot police confiscated from the flat of the devotees on Tuesday afternoon.

Divisional Crime Officer Superintendent Vijay Singh said the flat at Tavewa Avenue, which is near the courthouse, was raided after a tip-off.

He said charges would be laid once investigations were completed. A source at the police station said none of the devotees admitted to receiving or owning the stolen goods.

They told police that their flat, which was being paid for by movement followers, was open to a lot of people and anybody could have left the goods behind.

Police confiscated five laptops, three digital cameras, two wristwatches and a video camera when officers raided the flat at 2.30pm Tuesday.

The police source said the officers were pleased that Justice Connors managed to retrieve his laptop.

Acting president of the Sri Krishna Kaliya Temple Vinod Kumar said the news of the discovery had shocked him and he did not have details because he was in Suva on Tuesday when the raid happened.

He said some of the devotees were new and were yet to be initiated as members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness which is the parent body of the movement.

He said the devotees were all in their 20s and were locals.

Mr Kumar said he could not blame anyone and internal investigations would be carried out.

He said the temple checked the background of all devotees before allowing them to stay on premises provided for by the movement.

He said the young devotees were also subjected to this background check.

Mr Kumar said people from all walks of life came to the temple and visited the devotees so it was important to investigate the allegations properly.

SP Singh said being in possession of stolen property was a serious offence and officers were doing their best to crack down on illegal buyers and receivers.

Justice Connors was robbed of jewellery, a laptop, a camera and other assorted items worth more than $20,000.

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Fiji Times, Fiji
Oct. 21, 2004

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday October 21, 2004.
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