Ghaziabad: A thief who broke into Dasna Devi temple in Masuri early on Saturday escaped with the gold crown and jewellery of the main deity apart from cash kept in the donation box. The theft was caught on the temple’s CCTV camera.

According to authorities, the temple was closed at 10 pm on Friday after Shivratri celebrations ended.

“We got to know of the theft in the morning when we opened the temple. The main deity’s gold crown and jewellery were missing. The money in the donation box was also missing,” Yati Narshimahnand of Dasna Devi temple said. CCTV footage in the temple showed a man in his twenties entering the temple complex around midnight. He tried to open the donation box, but was unsuccessful. He then broke open the lock with a hammer which he had,” Narshimahnand said. The thief then entered inner recesses of the temple and took the deity’s crown and jewellery. He left after 40 minutes.

Narshimahnand claimed that this was not the first instance of theft in the temple. “In the past 10 years, there have been seven thefts,” he told TOI.

Ashish Srivastava, circle officer, Sadar, said prima facie, it looked like an insider’s job. “The thief knew too much about the temple, which suggests that it was either the handiwork of an insider or any local who did a detailed recce of the temple. The thief deliberately chose the day of Shivratri as he knew that the donation box would be full. We are scanning CCTV footage and hope to crack the case soon,” Srivastava said. An FIR was registered against unidentified persons under Section 379 (theft) of IPC at Masuri police station on Saturday.