Thieves cart away loaded ATM in 3 minutes flat

Bangalore, May 26 (Calcutta Tube) In a swift operation lasting barely three minutes, thieves carted away a 300-kg ATM machine loaded with cash from the outskirts of Bangalore early Tuesday.

The machine, belonging to HDFC bank, which was taken from Anekal, about 30 km from here, was found broken open and burnt near Huskur several kilometres away.

‘The bank officials told us Rs.1.6 million was deposited in the ATM on Saturday. They are yet to give us the exact amount that was in the ATM at the time of the incident. They are calculating how much was withdrawn from Saturday till the early hours of Tuesday to zero in on the figure,’ H.S. Venkatesh, in-charge of Anekal police station, told IANS.

Venkatesh said two guards posted at the ATM were asleep at the time. They woke up around 3 a.m. to find the machine missing. Anekal police was informed of the theft 20 minutes later.

He said the ATM was not fixed to the ground. ‘It was kept just like one keeps a fridge at homes. This made it easy for the thieves to cart it away.’

‘They just pulled the plug out and dragged the machine to a waiting vehicle with the help of their associates,’ Venkatesh said.

He said it appeared that two people wearing helmets came to the ATM around 1.15 a.m., switched off the lights, which meant the camera also stopped functioning. ‘They were out at 1.18 a.m. taking the ATM in a vehicle they had come in,’ he said, reconstructing the events.

Since the machine was set on fire after it was broken open to take away the money, it was difficult to get fingerprints.

Venkatesh said he suspected the connivance of the guards as they said they did not hear any sound.

‘This is not convincing as the heavy machine was dragged out and there would have been a fairly loud noise. There would also have been sound when it was placed in the vehicle.’

This apparently is the first case in Bangalore of an ATM itself being stolen, police said.

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