Karachi: Rs3.2 million taken away in bank heist
KARACHI, March 5: Armed men stormed into a private bank branch in the Baldia Town area on Saturday, held the security guard and staff at gunpoint before walking off with more than Rs3 million, police said.
They said though the bank staff saw some five armed men inside the bank, it was believed that the robbers had more aides outside the Saeedabad branch of United Bank Limited in Sector B-3.
“The episode that began around 11.30am lasted between five and 10 minutes,” said Sub-Inspector Jan Muhammad, the SHO of the Saeedabad police station.
“We are coordinating with the bank staff to determine the features and appearance of the suspects. So far the involvement of five men in the robbery is confirmed.”
The police said the armed men posing as customers entered the branch during the banking hours.
“Some of them whipped out pistols while another suspect or two followed them with guns in their hands. A few customers were also present at the time of robbery,” said an official associated with the investigation section of the Saeedabad police station.
The incident came as the second such incident in this year. Some 21 robberies were reported in 2010 alone and the investigators claimed to have solved 14 such cases.
However, the investigators have blamed the managements of banks for taking little interest in ensuring security of their ‘insured assets’ saying that the bandits in most cases managed to take away the digital video recording (DVR) system with the booty.
Of the 21 bank robberies committed in different parts of the city last year, the investigators could find the footage of only three such heists recorded through the CCTV cameras installed inside the branches.
However, in the Saeedabad incident, the police found an intact video recording system and said that the evidence would be key to determining the identities of the armed men.
A case (FIR 133/2011) was registered under Sections 392 (punishment for robbery) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code on a complaint of the branch manager.
“The footage is being examined by the officials at the investigation branch,” said the area SHO. “The branch staff and two security guards are also being questioned to get facts. However, we don’t think this was an inside job.”
He said the mode of transportation used by the armed bandits was yet to be established.
“Witnesses are quite scared and reluctant to share information with the police. We believe that there must have been more suspects outside the branch providing cover to their aides inside the facility and they might have used a four-wheeler to escape,” he added.
He said an amount of Rs3.2 million that also included some prize bonds was robbed.