The box containing Rs. 25 lakh was in a van near an ATM centre

The police have nabbed four persons who took away a box containing Rs. 25 lakh meant for an ATM centre, from a van in the heart of the city on Thursday afternoon.

Disclosing this to presspersons, Commissioner of Police Seemanth Kumar Singh said that the theft occurred at 12.15 p.m. Four persons had stolen the cash box from the van parked in front of the ATM centre of the State Bank of India at Hampankatta.

The van was manned by four persons — a driver, a gunman and two others to put cash into the ATM. Only the driver was in the van, while the gunman was standing guard outside the ATM centre. The rest were inside the ATM centre, Mr. Singh said.

The police resorted to nakabandi across the city immediately after the theft. While checking vehicles at Kannur, a team from Mangalore rural police station found the accused travelling in a KSRTC bus towards Puttur.

They were carrying the cash box, although it appeared that they tried to break open the lock, he said.

Mr. Singh said that one of the accused tried to escape, but people caught him and handed him over to the police.

The State Police Headquarters had announced a reward of Rs. 25,000 and the city police Rs. 10,000 for those who had helped the police nab the accused.

A function would be organised to felicitate them, he added.

Calling the modus operandi of the accused “unique”, Mr. Singh said they threw currency notes in the denomination of Rs. 10 under the van and distracted the van crew. They broke open a window of the van and took away the cash box.

Regional Manager of SBI Raghuram Shetty said that the services of Pro-Interactive Services had been contracted to deliver cash to ATM centres of the bank.

Mr. Singh said that the accused hailed from Tamil Nadu and their identities were yet to be verified with the police of that State.

The police suspected the involvement of two more persons in the theft, Mr. Singh said.

Considering the nature of the crime, Mr. Singh said that there appeared to be a “lapse”, which would have to be rectified.

He said talks would be held with other banks on preventing such incidents in future. He gave the names of the accused as Shiva, Mahindran, Hariharan, and Murali.