They had used fake cards and cameras

Police arrested a four-member gang for withdrawing cash from unmanned ATM machines by means of fake debit cards. Rs. 1.32 lakh in cash and a two-wheeler found in their possession were seized on Tuesday.

Following a complaint from Rajendran, a resident of Sivagiri in Tirunelveli district, Superintendent of Police V. Balakrishnan directed the Vadipatti police to register the case.

The complainant, a lecturer in an institution in Virudhunagar district, stated that Rs. 25,000 had been debited from his savings bank account of State Bank of India through withdrawals on different dates from an ATM in Vadipatti in October, 2012.

A team comprising Vadipatti Inspector of Police Sivasankaran placed unmanned ATMs in the locality under surveillance for more than 10 days.

Police picked up four suspects - B. Thirumalai Babu and K. Gopalakrishnan of Paasingapuram, M. Abraham alias Kalidas of Bethaniapuram and P. Balamurugan of Vilangudi, all aged between 30 and 35.

Interrogations revealed that they had been withdrawing cash from unmanned ATM machines by using fake debit cards since 2007. One of the suspects, Abraham, is understood to have committed similar offences in Mumbai and was arrested by the police there.

The modus operandi of the gang was to scout for ATM machines without security guards. They would install a small PIN pad camera and card skimmer on the machine as early as 5 a.m. After about two or three hours, they would remove the camera and the skimmer. After writing the data on fake debit cards in their possession, they would withdraw cash from different ATMs, Mr. Balakrishnan said and added that the gang had committed such offences in Madurai, Dindigul, Virudhunagar, Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore among other towns.

The police have seized a card reader, card writer, skimmers, a camera fitted with mobile phones and a two-wheeler.

The accused were produced before a court. Further investigation is on.

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