Police patrol Columns

The anatomy of failure: why ATM burglaries flop

It is almost impossible to break open an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) unless one detonates it using dynamite — such is the refrain among city police personnel who probe burglary attempts at ATM kiosks. The latest — on the State Bank of Mysore’s facility on Landons Road, Kilpauk — early on Monday, was the fourth such attempt in the last two months.

Termed ‘foolish felons’ by police, such thieves usually strike after dark at kiosks without guards, or where guards are sleeping. Sometimes, they manage to break open the outer shell of the machine but fail to open the heavy iron locker in which lies the money.

City police say at least one futile ATM burglary attempt occurs each month. They say that thieves embark on such attempts under the impression that cash is stashed behind the outer shell. However, they are caught unawares when they stumble upon the sold iron safe protected by number locks.

Police records reveal only two successful ATM burglaries — in September 2010 in Thoraipakkam and November 2013 in Perambur – in which nearly Rs. 25 lakh was stolen. The burglars, who were caught, turned out to be employees of agencies loading money into the machines, who were aware of the codes to the safe.

Officers recall another successful instance in which the burglars managed to spirit away an ATM on Ormes Road in Kilpauk in 2009 in a van. After all their efforts, it turned out the machine only had over Rs. 74,000.

(Reporting by Petlee Peter)

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 11:46:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chen-columns/the-anatomy-of-failure-why-atm-burglaries-flop/article6545634.ece

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