Three days after a 3-ft panchaloha idol kept in the sanctum sanctorum of a 90-year-old Krishna temple was stolen, the Arcot police on Wednesday arrested two people, including a habitual bike lifter, and retrieved the idol hidden by them in a drainage channel near Konan Colony in Arcot.

A senior police officer identified the arrested as D Sathiya, 40, of Konan Dalit Colony, and K Kannan, 44, of Krishnavaram in the town. The temple is located on Kanar Bajanai Street.

On Sunday, when priest Rajesh Sharma, 30, came to open the temple, he was shocked to find the panchaloha idol of the main deity missing.

According to prime accused Sathiya’s confession, he was involved in bike lifting cases and sought to lead a luxurious life. “Fearing arrest, we decided to hide the stolen idol in a drainage channel. Unfortunately, when we dropped the idol, a hand broke. Believing that the damaged idol would fetch only a low rate in the black market, we opted to repair it before sales. When we were searching for the broken hand, a resident spotted us and alerted police,” he said.

Police retrieved the idol and are on the look out for another accused who is reportedly absconding with the broken idol part.

Anandhan, inspector of the Arcot police station, said the idol is now at the police station and will be handed over to the temple authorities following investigation.