Police on Friday said they have cracked the recent thefts of automated teller machines (ATMs) containing large amounts of cash in the City and on its outskirts.
Bangalore Rural District police said they had arrested a seven-man gang and cracked five cases – an ATM theft each at Dwarakanagar in Bagalur and Iggalur in Hebbugodi, and three botched attempts.
Police have recovered Rs 14.53 lakh in cash from the suspects identified as Somu alias Somashekhar, Anekal; Ramaswamy alias Rama, Praveen Rao alias Praveena, Naveen Kumar alias Naveena, Nishanth alias Kothi, Ramesha alias Peera, and Ramesh alias Shikali, all natives of Hoskote town.
The burglars had towed away a mobile ATM of the State Bank of Mysore containing Rs 24.35 lakh in cash at Dwarakanagar on June 18 night. A week later, they had taken away an ATM belonging to the Bank of Maharashtra at Iggaluru on June 26.
CCTV cameras damaged
Police had no clue about the burglars as they had damaged the CCTV cameras in both the kiosks.
In a joint operation, the City police and their Bangalore Rural counterparts launched an investigation into the heists and formed a special team, which was sent to Tamil Nadu only to discover two other unsuccessful attempts at ATM thefts at Mukundapalli in Sipcot police limits in Hosur town.
Police said they achieved a breakthrough in the case by sheer luck. Hoskote police had recently busted a gang of robbers.
On sustained interrogation, one of them revealed that a group of young men, all residents of the town, had suddenly turned rich.
Hoskote police rounded up five boys based on the inputs given by the robber.
On questioning the five suspects about their source of income, they came up with the name of the mastermind, Somu alias Somashekar from Anekal, who worked as a “seizer” for a private finance company.
His job was to impound hypothecated properties of defaulters.
The boys also named Ramaswamy alias Rama, from Hoskote, a private moneylender, a close aide of Somu.
Police soon picked up the two and the duo confessed to having ripped open the ATM machine and dumped it into Thattekere Tank in Harohalli, Ramnagara, before sharing the money among themselves. Police have recovered Rs 10.15 lakh from the arrested.
Abdul Ahad, Additional SP, Bangalore Rural district, told Deccan Herald that careful analysis of the CCTV footage at the Dwarakanagar ATM counter also established the identity of the thieves.
He said Nishanth alias Kothi’s face was clearly visible in the footage.
The gang also confessed to taking away the ATM of Bank of Maharashtra at Iggaluru and dumping it into Nagondapalli Tank in Hosur after distributing the loot among themselves. Police have recovered Rs 4.38 lakh of the stolen
The burglars told the police they had attempted thefts at three ATM counters in Sipcot, Hosur, and Huskur Gate, Hebbugodi.