Rs 19.86 lakh stolen from unguarded ATM

Rs 19.86 lakh stolen from unguarded ATM

Defunct CCTV cameras spur inside job theory

Rs 19.86 lakh stolen from unguarded ATM

After a gap of about three months, miscreants broke into another ATM kiosk — maintained by Canara Bank on a busy street at Nagashetty Halli — cracked the machine with a gas cutter and made off with Rs 19.86 lakh, shortly after it was refilled with cash on Saturday.

Police suspect the involvement of at least one insider. The kiosk — with two entrance doors — neither had a security guard nor were the two CCTV cameras installed there in working condition. While the CCTV camera installed in the ATM counter was not repaired for the last five months, the one installed in the machine had stopped working as early as on June 5.

The incident came to light after a self-generated alert was delivered to the machine server in Chennai around 7.30 pm, that the ATM was not working. The authorities in Chennai passed the alert to the bank’s coordination centre in Bangalore, which in turn alerted the branch officials, police said.

The ATM was found cracked open from behind when officials from the local branch reached there. The entire cash was missing, too. Sanjaynagar police were called around 10.45 pm and Canara Bank officials lodged a complaint.

‘Two men involved’

According to S N Siddaramappa, DCP (North), at least two persons are involved in the crime. “One of them entered  from the main door and shuttered the kiosk. We suspect that the first man then opened the second door, which is completely unguarded, for his accomplice from inside the kiosk. This way, they brought the gas cutter in. The culprits then cracked the machine from behind. They cut through a hole of about one-foot radius and fled with cash,” Siddaramappa told Deccan Herald.

A police source said that the ATM kiosk did not have a security guard, much like all such kiosks maintained by Canara Bank. This ATM kiosk is located on the corner of a street and has two doors — one facing the main road and another opening into a lane.

Larger conspiracy

Indicating a larger conspiracy, investigators say the involvement of insiders cannot be ruled out. Canara Bank officials have admitted that the two CCTV cameras installed in the kiosk were not repaired. What has baffled the police is that the CCTV camera installed in the machine stopped working on June 5.

“When we had a close look at the machine, it was clear that the CCTV camera cable was deliberately cut,” Siddaramappa pointed out.

The last footage recorded by the camera was on June 5. Police suspect that those who struck on Saturday had either made an unsuccessful attempt on June 5 or rendered the CCTV camera defunct four days ago itself.

Wire snapped

Two men from Checkmate Security — a private firm which is tasked with refilling the ATM with cash — had refilled the machine with Rs 13 lakh at 4.30 pm, just three hours before the server in Chennai received an alert.

Siddaramappa expressed surprise that the two men had been refilling cash since June 5, but didn’t notice that the CCTV wire was snapped.

Two special teams have been formed to apprehend the culprits, Siddaramappa said. The last ATM theft was reported in BTM Layout three months ago. A similar modus operandi was employed by the culprits then too.