KARACHI: Karachi, a city that is home to over 20 million residents and where security forces have been actively combatting criminals for the past four years, witnessed its second consecutive bank robbery on Wednesday.
Despite increased security following Tuesday’s tragic robbery, in which the bank manager of a private bank was shot dead, law enforcers have failed, yet again, to protect banks in the city from being looted, raising questions over the performance of the agencies conducting the much-vaunted Karachi operation.
As many as five robbers looted cash from a branch of Al-Baraka Bank in Kharadar's Boulton Market and managed to flee along with the cash and guards' weapons on Wednesday morning.
The robbers entered the bank at 9:56am with their faces covered with caps and helmets. They held the bank staffers and customers, as well as the security guards, hostage at gunpoint and looted Rs600,000 from the cash counter. They also snatched mobile phones from the customers in the bank and managed to safely escape with their stolen goods, all within the span of a few minutes.
Robbers gun down bank manager in heist
Slow to reach the scene were the police and Rangers, who arrived after the robbers had escaped on motorcycles.
Fortunately, the police obtained closed-circuit television footage of the incident, as the robbers did not take the cameras installed at the bank with them while fleeing. "A total of five armed robbers were behind today's robbery," SP Shehla Qureshi told The Express Tribune. "They [the robbers] held both the security guards hostage at gunpoint and took their weapons."
She said that the robbers took one guard’s weapon with them while fleeing and looted around Rs600,000 from the bank. The police have detained both the security guards for questioning.
Bank robberies remain a challenge for law enforcement agencies in Karachi, as 12 banks were robbed in 2016; 10 of them occurred in the first four months.
In 2017 that number seems to be on the rise, as Karachi has witnessed a total nine bank robberies since January. This was the second consecutive bank heist in the past two days and was the third in the month of August.
Police claim to have solved Kharadar bank robbery within 24 hours
A major bank heist took place in Ferozabad on Tuesday when robbers shot and killed an operational branch manager of UBL for offering resistance during the robbery. The criminals were able to flee with Rs600,000 in cash.
A senior police official said that out of the nine robberies that have occurred in 2017, four robberies have been investigated but the remaining five are still pending.
The official added that the same group was involved in the Ferozabad robbery and one at a Faysal Bank branch in Gulshan-e-Iqbal on July 20, while Wednesday’s culprits were from a different group.
Significant developments have been made in the investigation of the Ferozabad bank robbery and there are chances that the robbers will be arrested soon.
Police nab five-member robbers’ gang
Investigators claim to have made a breakthrough in the bank robbery and have issued pictures of the bank robbers after finding their images in the CCTV footage. The police have also announced a reward of Rs500,000 for anyone who aids the police in the arrest of the robbers.
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