A breach was reported in an ATM kiosk of a nationalized bank at Yavat in Pune district in the early hours of Monday. Police said preliminary investigation suggests that the thieves used a gas cutter to break the cash dispenser and fled with Rs 23 lakh.
Within two hours of the theft, a similar vandalism was reported in Pen town of Raigad district, in which Rs 56 lakh cash was stolen from an ATM kiosk of another nationalized bank. Pen and Yavat are 160 km apart, but investigators probing two similar cases in neighboring districts are coordinating with each other.
In Pune district, the incident took place between 2 am and 3 am in Yavat town, 55 km from Pune city.
Pune Rural Jurisdiction Superintendent of Police Abhinav Deshmukh said, “The thieves targeted an ATM kiosk of Bank of Maharashtra. The suspects used gas cutters and fled with the cash. After preliminary investigation, the police had said that Rs 2.5 lakh was stolen. However, later investigations confirmed that the thieves took more than Rs 23 lakh.
Additional Superintendent of Police (Baramati Division) Milind Mohite said, “Preliminary investigation suggests that there were four thieves who had come to the kiosk on two bikes. He initially blinded security cameras with a black spray before using a gas cutter to break the dispenser. According to the information given by the bank officials, cash worth Rs 23 lakh has been stolen. Forensic analysis team and dog squad were called to the spot to assist in the investigation.
At Penn, two cash dispensers at an ATM kiosk were opened with gas cutters when suspects blinded the camera with black spray at 4.30 am. A Raigad district police officer said, “The only difference between a robbery in Pen and Yavat is that in Pen, the suspects used a four-wheeler. Considering the distance between the two places, it would be far-fetched to say that there was a dacoity. The same suspects are involved. But there may be other possibilities that we are working on.”
Mohite said, “Given the similarities in Pen and Yavat cases, we are looking into the possibility of suspects being linked to each other or part of the same gang in both the cases. We are coordinating with the authorities in Raigad.”
The Pimpri-Chinchwad police are probing a recent theft at an ATM kiosk on Chakan-Alandi road near Pune in the early hours of December 26, in which thieves detonated a low-intensity blast on a cash dispenser and stole Rs 16 lakh. Had taken
Pune city police are also probing failed attempts to open three cash dispensers at two kiosks in Kondhwa and Khadki Bazar areas on January 13 and 14. During the theft at an ATM kiosk near Chakan in July last year, thieves had carried out a blast. stole 28 lakh rupees by breaking the dispenser due to controversies like IED. There are several instances in which thieves have used ropes and cars to dislodge dispensers and get away with them.
The recent series of thefts at ATMs, especially those located in and around Pune industrial areas, have revealed a pattern. Most of these robberies took place during the night in deserted areas. Officials said that despite very clear guidelines from RBI and repeated communications from police, banks and non-banking entities managing ATM kiosks failed to take adequate security measures.
Keeping in view the general aspects like inadequate security cover at the kiosks, the police have also started accusing the concerned bank officials of ‘inciting’ these offenses by failing to take necessary measures to secure these ATMs .