Hours after they attempted to break open three ATMs in Junagadh city, two men were arrested late Thursday with the police saying the two wanted money to buy marijuana.
The ‘A’ Division police in Junagadh arrested Bilal Ansari (25) and his friend Hardik Solanki alias Hardik Dhobi (29) late on Thursday night saying the duo were involved in the unsuccessful attempt to break open three ATMs in two days in that city.
“They first attempted to break open an ATM of Canara Bank near the bus station of Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) at around 6:30 am on Wednesday but remained unsuccessful. A few hours later, they made another bid to steal cash from ATMs of State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank (PNB) in Diwan Chowk at 1:45 am on Thursday. However, while Ansari was trying to break the PNB ATM open, security system installed in the ATM booth generated an alert in the office of the book in Mumbai and in turn, officers from Mumbai alerted us about the crime,” Pradeepsinh Jadeja, in-charge district superintendent of police of Junagadh told The Indian Express on Friday.
Jadeja said that the duo attempted to pry open the cash-dispensing windows of the ATMs but failed to reach cash tray in the chests of the machines. “With the help of an iron girder, they pried open the steel plate cabinet below the cash dispensing window. During interrogation, they said they were under impression that cash is stored that cabinet and hence targeted that part of the ATMs. But they didn’t succeed to reach to the cash tray,” the in-charge SP further said.
The SP added that Ansari, a resident of Limbda Chowk area in Junagadh was picked up by police just hours after unsuccessful attempt to break the PNB ATM open. “After they failed to reach to the cash tray, the duo ran away from the spot. While Ansari felt asleep on a platform in a nearby street, Dhobi went to his home. After getting the alert from the PNB, we soon launched a manhunt in the Diwan Chowk area and detained Ansari. Footage recorded by CCTV camera in the ATM booth helped us establish the identity of the accused. During questioning, Ansari said that his friend Dhobi had also helped him in the theft bid. Therefore, Dhobi was also picked up,” said Jadeja.
The officer added that Ansari was a fabricator but was facing financial hardships post the lockdown. “Both Ansari and Dhobi are addicted to marijuana but had ran out of money to purchase the contraband. Therefore, in a bid to make easy money, they attempted to steal cash from ATMs,” said Jadeja.
After the duo tested negative for Covid-19, they were formally arrested by ‘A’ Division police station in Junagadh city late on Thursday evening after booking them under IPC Sections 457 (house trespass at night with intent to commit an offence), 380 (theft) 511 (attempt to commit offence punishable with imprisonment). “Ansari was booked in 2018 in connection with a theft in a temple in Mangrol taluka of Junagadh and later on in a case of vehicle theft in Junagadh city. Dhobi, who is a washerman, has had no criminal antecedents but he is a friend of Ansari,” Virendrasinh Solanki, police inspector of ‘A’ Division police station said.
Police said that another offence was registered against the duo at ‘B’ Division police station in Junagadh in connection with their bid to break open the Canara Bank ATM.