Another Friday, another robbery: Ninth bank heist of the year as Rs1.3m stolen in less than 12 minutes

Authorities plan to combat thieves with a fool-proof security system and DVR system.

Express August 12, 2011

KARACHI: The authorities claim that with the support of banks they will be able to stop future robberies. All the institutions have to do is follow the security system requirements as stated in the Standard Operating Procedures of the Banking Security Council.

This decision was reached at a meeting held at the Central Police Office on Friday after the ninth bank robbery of the year took place within the limits of the Gulberg police station.

In the latest robbery, four unidentified men dressed in shirts and trousers entered the bank around noon and snatched guns from two of the security guards. They held the staff and customers at gunpoint. Evidence and a witness suggest that the men took less than 12 minutes to steal Rs1.3 million from the till.

Security guard Ghazi added that it happened so fast that they were caught off guard.

“It was not written on their faces you know, we did not know what they were going to do,” he said. “As soon as they entered the bank we were told to cooperate or risk being shot.”

SHO Mohammad Fasihuddin added that although the men had broken the CCTV cameras they had not stolen the DVR system and the police had footage of the robbery. He claims that the men had used four motorcycles and the authorities were trying to trace their number plates. The authorities claim that they have finger prints of the four men which would also help in the investigation.

They have registered an FIR (No. 241/11) on behalf of bank manager Khurram Iqbal and plan to question the security guard and staff.

The authorities claim that so far, evidence did not suggest an involvement with the other Friday robberies. In the last bank heists, men entered the bank before noon and held the staff at gunpoint. They added that the same group might have been responsible for both of the robberies.

Fighting crime

Authorities claim that a list of criminals recently released from prison and those involved in bank robberies are also being maintained.

Additional IG Saud Mirza told The Express Tribune that in a week each SHO would be responsible for their jurisdiction. “It will be their responsibility to ensure that the banks comply with the security requirements.

They will have a pro forma document with them to double check on their security set-up,” he said. Mirza added that several meeting had been held to combat the increasing number of bank robberies.

Discussing the lack of security measures taken by banks, he claimed that a morcha (picket) should be set up for security personnel so that they are always on high alert.

“One of the major problems we face is the fact that the banks use cheap DVR systems which are usually placed in vulnerable spots. During a robbery they become easy targets and because of the low-quality footage the evidence is termed useless,” he said.

“The banks which adhere to proper security protocol do not fall prey to such criminal activities.”

Mirza added that no terrorist groups were involved in the robberies.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2011.