The Bangalore District police on Friday claimed to have solved several ATM thefts in and around the city since June with the arrest of seven men. The police seized Rs. 14.5 lakh, an SUV, metal cutter and some weapons from them.
The suspects — all daily wage labourers and autorickshaw drivers from Anekal and Hoskote — were stealing entire ATM machines and throwing them into lakes and tanks after emptying them of cash, police said.
The arrested are Anekal resident Somu alias Somashekar, Ramaswamy alias Ramu, Praveen Rao, Naveen Kumar, Nishanth K., Ramesha Peera, Ramesha Shiklali, all from Hoskote Apparently they had turned to crime to lead the good life.
Additional Superintendent of Police Abdul Ahmed told The Hindu Somu, the mastermind, is a recovery agent and his friend Ramu, a moneylender in Anekal. The duo hatched a plan to steal ATMs, roping in their friends from Hoskote as they needed the muscle power to cart away the machines and break them open.
The gang’s first successful ATM theft was in Bagalur.
Thereafter, they pulled of similar operations in Igalur in Chandapura police station limits and attempted more in Hebbagodi and on Hosur Road.
The police, who were trying the crack the cases, got their first clue when a suspect in the theft of a petrol tanker told them during interrogation that some of his friends who were penniless were blowing up money on alcohol and vices.
The police picked up two of them who sang, leading them to nab the others.
Though the suspects had raked in some Rs. 32 lakh in less than two months, they had already blown up Rs. 17.5 lakh. Not all of it was on the good life though: some of it went on pilgrimages.
Police said the seized SUV, stolen from Hosur, had been modified to accommodate the ATM machines.
“We recovered one ATM machine which they had dumped in Hosur lake. We’re trying to piece together ATM machine parts they had disposed of in a junkyard in Ramanagaram,” Mr. Ahmed said.