Bangalore, June 18 (IANS) In a daring heist, a gang of six unidentified men stole an entire ATM, containing Rs.10-15 lakh, from a branch of the state-owned State Bank of India (SBI) in the city’s northeast suburbs early Tuesday, police said.
“The incident came to light when our patrolling team detected the ATM missing from the bank outlet during its late night beat and no security guard around,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (northeast) T.R. Suresh told IANS here.
Police registered a case after the bank branch manager R. Gururaj filed a complaint that its ATM was stolen with an estimated cash of over Rs.10-15 lakh.
According to preliminary investigation, the ATM, weighing about 500kg, was not properly fixed to the ground in the outlet and the gang had cut off wires of the closed circuit television camera and its server before decamping from the spot in a vehicle.
“As the bank branch with the ATM outlet is located on a deserted road in Bagalur area, we suspect the gang escaped with the heavy machine in the absence of a security guard and without being noticed by anyone as there was not much vehicular traffic or people’s movement at that time,” Suresh said.
The branch was opened April 25 and the ATM was installed a month later (in May) in the kiosk with just two nuts and bolts fixed to the ground.
“It is a serious security lapse of the bank and its security agency which is entrusted with the operation and maintenance of the ATM. They have not taken precautions to ensure the machine’s safety,” Police Commissioner Jyotiprakash Mirji told reporters after inspecting the bank outlet.
In the complaint, the bank manager mentioned that Rs.20 lakh cash in denominations of Rs.1,000, Rs.500 and Rs.100 was deposited in the ATM Saturday (June 15) by the outsourced security agency.
“We have set up a special team to investigate the case and nab the gang, as the CCTV footage recorded before its camera wires were cut off showed six persons trying to lift and move the machine out of the outlet,” Suresh said.
This is the second such incident in the city a week after about Rs.19.86 lakh cash was stolen from an ATM of the state-run Canara Bank in northwest suburb of the city June 8 in the absence of a security guard and defunct CCTV cameras in the outlet.
City police, however, cracked the case within four days by nabbing the three culprits and recovered Rs.18 lakh in cash from them.
The accused, including an assistant field officer of the security agency, had used a gas cutter to cut the upper part of the machine after opening it with a duplicate key and stole the cash from its safe.