Attempt in vain to break the cash chest at Thanichayam

Two masked men murdered the watchman at a State Bank Automated Teller Machine (ATM) centre at Thanichayam near Vadipatti before attempting in vain to break the cash chest in the small hours of Thursday.

The Superintendent of Police, V. Balakrishnan, said that three special teams have been formed to nab the culprits with the help of video footage captured through closed circuit television camera network.

The watchman, M. Pannerselvam (50), hailing from the nearby Thathampatti, was found lying in a pool of blood outside the ATM along the Madurai-Dindigul highway after the day-break. The culprits could manage to break open only the outer cover of the chest with two crowbars, but could not lay hands on the cash, the police said.

The two men had masked their face with handkerchiefs and covered their head with lungis. Both of them uniformly wore light blue briefs. The incident occurred at around 2.30 a.m.

Police officials who went through the video clippings said the men were found stealthily walking towards bank premises from the service road of the four-way highway. After ensuring that the watchman was fast asleep lying on the platform outside the ATM kiosk, they attacked him with the crowbars on his head killing him within seconds. A forensic expert said that there was no trace for any struggle by the watchman.

Immediately after entering the kiosk, one of them broke the CFL bulb fixed outside the kiosk to prevent any passerby notice the dead watchman. They also broke the CCTV camera fit on the ceiling of the kiosk.

Forensic experts have lifted fingerprints from the scene of crime. A sniffer dog that was pressed into service ran up to a nearby hotel.

A police officer suspected that the culprits could have made good of the power cut in the locality to strike at the ATM. Pannerselvam was employed by a private security agency for the last two years. He was posted at this ATM kiosk only two months ago. A police highway patrol had visited the kiosk as part of the routine checking at around 2 a.m., the police said.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police (Madurai Range), B. Balanagadevi, Additional Superintendent of Police, V. Mayilvaganan, inspected the spot.

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