One of the five bank robbers who struck at the Indian Overseas Bank in Keelkattalai on Monday afternoon had brandished a pistol and fired a shot inside the branch. Police suspect the weapon was a high-end toy gun, which had knocked down the dome of a bulb on the ceiling but didn't shatter it.

Sources in the preliminary investigating team said one of the robbers had opened fire once, creating a mild noise, in an attempt to scare the people inside the bank. However, no pellet could be recovered from the premises, raising strong suspicions that the gun was a toy.

“The cover on the light on the ceiling was inspected. It had opened up but not broken. If it was a real bullet, the entire set would have been smashed,” said an investigating officer.

In the bank robbery at the Bank of Baroda branch in Perungudi on January 23, investigators are yet to ascertain the nature of the guns brandished by the suspects, though prima facie it appeared to be toy guns. “Amidst panic inside the branch, it was hard to check whether the robbers used a real weapon or a toy. Moreover, I don't think anyone had the expertise to distinguish between a real gun and a toy,” said advocate Rangaramanujam, who was held at gunpoint during the robbery in the Bank of Baroda branch.

Investigations that followed the Perungudi robbery hit many hurdles due to the absence of CCTV cameras in the branch, lack of information on how the suspects fled.

More In: TAMIL NADU | NATIONAL