Pimpri Chinchwad police have arrested eight persons, including engineers, in connection with theft of money from several ATMs, and recovered Rs 72.1 lakh cash along with documents pertaining to purchase of property and gold worth Rs 22 lakh from them.
Police identified the accused as Manoj Uttam Suryawanshi (30) of Pimpri, Kiran Bhanudar Kolte (35) of Chikhali, Mahesh Anand Devnikar (30) of Katraj, Sagar Popat Tavare (31) of Baramati, Tushar Kundalik Chandgude (25) of Baramati, Shankar Balasaheb Gaikwad (31) of Purandar, Ashish alias Sonya Bhalerao (22) of Chinchwad and Narsingh Madhav Dhumal of Latur.
Police said most of the accused are well educated and worked as engineers for a well-known company providing services related to ATM operations. A press release issued on Sunday by the crime branch of Pimpri Chinchwad police said some persons opened four ATM machines in Dighi using duplicate keys and stole cash, CPU and its lock on September 24 this year.
Two crime branch teams led by senior police inspector Shankar Babar began a probe into the matter. During investigation, acting on a tip-off to assistant police inspector Satish Kamble, police nabbed Suryawanshi and Kolte on October 7.
The probe confirmed they had allegedly stolen money from ATMs with the help of accomplices. Police seized Rs 66.10 lakh cash and a motorcycle from them. They also recovered documents regarding gold worth Rs 10 lakh that Suryawanshi had allegedly purchased using stolen money and then took a loan from a finance company by mortgaging it. Police also recovered documents regarding payment of Rs 12 lakh made by Kolte for buying an apartment.
During further investigation, police arrested Devnikar, Tavare, Chandgude, Gaikwad and Bhalerao, who had allegedly used cash worth Rs 7 lakh stolen from ATMs for buying motorcycles and for farming, marriage celebration and hospital charges. Police also arrested Dhumal and recovered Rs 5.5 lakh cash from him.
Police said Suryawanshi and a few other accused worked as engineers for a company providing ATM services, while Dhumal was a company employee who loaded cash in ATMs. “The accused knew each other as most of them worked together. They planned and committed thefts from ATMs of various banks,” said Babar.
Police have so far confirmed their involvement in seven offences of theft of money from ATMs in the jurisdictions of Wakad, Talegaon Dabhade, Dehuroad, Chakan, Nigdi, Pimpri, Dighi police stations. Police said Chandgude had been arrested previously by Pune Rural police for tampering with an ATM machine.
Police investigation revealed that while stealing money from ATMs, the accused used methods like tampering the ATM lock, stealing pin codes of ATMs, conspiring with staffers who load cash in ATMs, open ATMs with duplicate keys and then steal the CPU and lock of cash box, cover the CCTV cameras inside ATMs by sticking black tapes on it, use motorcycle with bogus number plates and not use cellphones while committing crimes.
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