The 15th and 16th bank robberies of the year have left the authorities in a quandary, especially since they happened within four hours of each other.
Law enforcers claim that they were different from the rest. For one, the suspects did not take the security guards’ weapons and left the CCTV footage behind.
At around 12:20pm, seven men barged into a branch of United Bank Limited near Rubi Chowk, Baldia Town, said the Saeedabad police. They managed to escape with Rs1.8million in less than three minutes. Five were wearing shalwar kameez and the other two were dressed in formal pants and shirts. Before they entered the bank, the suspects attacked a policeman who was on duty outside the bank and took his rifle. One of the robbers was injured when the officer fought back. Eyewitness claim that the suspects escaped on four motorcycles.
According to SHO Gulshan Junejo, the suspects took the security guards weapons and held the staff and customers hostage.
He added that the guards would be questioned about their possible involvement in the crime. An FIR was registered at the Saeedabad police station on behalf of the bank manager Fahim.
On the other side of town, in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, five men, three were wearing shalwar kameez, ran away with Rs4.6million from Bank Al Habib, said the Sharae Faisal police. At 4:15pm, the suspects walked into the bank, pulled out their weapons, and held three security guards and the staff hostage. The suspects made their way to the cash counter and strong room to bag the money. The police said that they were out of the building in six minutes.
SHO Bashir Khan said that they had managed to obtain the CCTV footage and were trying to check if both robberies were carried out by the same men. They learnt that the suspects arrived at the bank in a car and two motorcycles. They claim that two other accomplices were waiting for the men outside the bank.
While comparing notes of the robberies, the police believe that both heists had a similar plan of action. The suspects had a clear of idea of what they wanted and how they were going to get it. What strikes the authorities as odd is the fact that unlike the 19 bank robberies which took place last year and the 14 reported this year, the suspects did not take the security guards weapons or CCTV footage.
In the robbery in Saeedabad, the suspects took the weapons to hold the staff hostage but returned it before running away. They also noted that the suspects were from different backgrounds and were communicating in different languages. According to SHO Khan, the CCTV footage should give them a clear picture of who the suspects were and if they were working for the same people.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2012.
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