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Pattern behind Pune ATM heists: Lax security, deserted areas

Pune ATM heists: The police have now started charging bank officials for failing to take necessary measures to secure these ATMs.

Written by Sushant Kulkarni | Pune |
Updated: August 4, 2021 8:32:23 am
Pune ATM robbed, Pune crimes, pune ATM heist, Pattern in ATM heist, Pattern in ATM robbery, atm robbery, Pune atm robbery, Pune atm robbery news, pune news, indian express, indian express newsThe burglars also seem to have used different methods to steal cash from the ATMs. (Representational)

A series of recent burglaries at ATM kiosks, especially those located in industrial areas near Pune, show a similar pattern of inadequate security cover. Taking note of this, police have now started charging banks for “abetting” these crimes in failing to take necessary measures towards securing these ATMs.

Almost all the recent cases of burglaries at ATM kiosks have taken place in industrial areas near Pune. Pimpri-Chinchwad Police alone has reported 12 cases of ATM heists — either successful or attempted — since January 1. Of these, police have cracked five, while the other seven are being probed.

Speaking about the pattern in these recent cases, Pimpri-Chinchwad police commissioner Krishna Prakash said, “Most of these cases have taken place in industrial areas where there is a presence of people predominantly during the day, while during the night most of these areas are deserted. Burglars are taking advantage of this. However, we have observed that in spite of clear guidelines from RBI and repeated communication from police, these banks or other entities running the ATMs have failed to put in place adequate security cover. This was the case at all places that have reported these instances.”

Prakash added, “Holding them accountable for these lapses, we have started filing cases against the banks and local entities that manage the kiosks. We will continue to do so as and when lapses are revealed.”

Deputy commissioner of police Manchak Ippar said, “The directives issued to banks and ATM managing entities are elaborate. They pertain to alarm systems and its links to mobile phones of officials, security cameras and their specifications, armed security guard deployment, lighting arrangement, location of the kiosk, checking of CCTV footage, construction of kiosks etc. In cases where ATMs have been targeted, these directives were blatantly flouted.”

Ippar added, “These bank officials and local entities are being booked because these are lapses at the institutional level. By not taking these steps, they are in fact abetting the crime.”

In one of the instances in the recent past, a bank employee conspired with others to steal money from the ATM. In four cases of ATM heists over the past one month, we have booked bank and local franchise entities. We have also increased patrolling in these vulnerable areas and are coordinating with industrial bodies.”

Burglars also seem to have used different ways to steal cash. In two recent cases — one in Ranjangaon and another in Chakan, both industrial areas — a contraption like an improvised explosive device was used. In some other cases, gas cutters were used, while in one case, a car was used to dislodge an entire cash dispenser.

A senior police officer said, “Most of these ATM kiosks are insured through their institutional process. We believe that due to this, institutions don’t bother taking adequate security measures. ATMs at secluded locations, poorly lit areas, areas with only commercial activity during the day are being targeted. We have identified these patterns and are working on patrolling mechanisms in coordination with industrial bodies. But lack of staff at individual police stations in Pimpri-Chinchwad still remains an issue.”

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