Third robbery in a month: Bank attack: Rs9.6m stolen

Authorities plan to question security guards and staff as suspicion falls on them.


Express August 10, 2011

KARACHI: The authorities claim that the security guards and staff members of a private bank in the SITE industrial area might be involved in the eighth and biggest bank heist of the year.

Around 2 am on Wednesday, four unidentified armed men dressed in shalwar kameez forced the bank’s security guards, Murtaza and Naseem, to wake up for Sehri. Once they woke up, the men held them hostage at gunpoint. “We do not know what happened because they tied us up and pushed us into a corner,” said the security guards. They added that the men had come equipped with cutters and drill machines.

Three out of the four men had covered their faces and took three hours to steal nearly Rs9.6 million which included Rs6.5 million and the rest in dollars. They fled the bank at 5 am with the DVR system and CCTV footage. The bank’s strong room had also been damaged.

Last week, Rs4.6 million were stolen from a private bank in Malir and on July 29 around Rs3.3 million were stolen from a bank in Gulshan-e-Iqbal. Unlike the other two robberies which were carried out on Friday and might have been organised by the same group, the authorities suspect that in this case the criminals might have links to Banaras or Orangi Town.

SHO Zawar Hussain added that this was not the first time such an incident took place as there were many banks in the area but it was the first time that the criminals took more than an hour to rob a bank. “The modus operandi indicates that the security guards and staff members were involved,” he said.

The authorities have detained the security guards for questioning. They plan to question four other security guards and staff members who claim that the guards were tied up when they entered the bank in the morning. “My experience tells me that the security guards were definitely involved and are trying to fool us with their story,” said the SHO. “The police sketch artist is creating an image of the suspects with help from the guards. We have sent information to the authorities concerned with the foreign currency serial numbers.” He added that initial reports show that the men might have had more companions waiting for them in the car they arrived in. A case has been registered on behalf of the bank manager.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2011.

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