Gang carts off the 450-kg machine, containingRs. 24 lakh in SUV, in just 12 minutes
This gang was not content with just stealing cash so it chose to take it all — even the ATM machine. Customers who came to withdraw cash from the State Bank of India (SBI) ATM in Dwarakanagar near Bagalur were left aghast when they found the 450-kg machine missing from the kiosk.
The absence of a security guard made it so much more convenient for this gang of six to seven miscreants, which hoisted the entire machine containing an estimated Rs. 24 lakh early Tuesday.
“The machine was not even fixed properly. It had been placed there like a refrigerator without any foundation so anyone could lift it and take it away,” said Bagalur police inspector Parameshwar Hegde, adding the kiosk was opened a little over a month ago.
On Saturday, Rs. 25 lakh had been loaded into it and customers had withdrawn just about Rs. 1 lakh.
A CCTV camera — before it was destroyed — captured two men, their faces covered, walking into the kiosk. Police said there was another camera installed outside, which showed they gang had come in an SUV, big enough to accommodate the ATM.
It was all over within 12 minutes — between 1.20 a.m. and 1.32 a.m.
Police said there is a camera installed in the ATM machine, which would have captured the theft but its storage drive was not connected to any external server, making the footage inaccessible.
It is assumed the gang’s brazen heist was made easy as the ATM was located in a narrow, poorly lit lane off Bellary Road. About half an hour later, a police patrol spotted the empty kiosk and reported it.
“Initially, they assumed it was sent for repair. However, they later suspected foul play and alerted us,” said the Bagalur police.
SBI officials got to know of it only Tuesday morning. The caretaking of the ATM is outsourced to a private firm, MphasiS. An MphasiS spokesperson said on Tuesday: “This is a serious incident and is being investigated by the authorities. MphasiS is providing all available information to help solve this crime.”
Sources in the firm also said that there were no compulsions to have a security guard according to the contract they had with SBI and it was also not mandated by the Reserve Bank of India.
The police intends to question the personnel concerned to explain why the security guidelines had not been followed.
Police Commissioner B.G. Jyothi Prakash Mirji visited the spot.