Karachi: Rs3.8m taken away 4th bank robbery of month
KARACHI, Aug 26: With police investigators still clueless about all the 10 robberies reported this year, more than half a dozen gunmen stormed into a private bank branch in Orangi Town on Friday morning and walked off with more than Rs3.8 million in a fourth such heist within a month, officials said.
The number of the bandits, their swift action and mode of transport they used came as a grim reminder of the July 29 private bank branch robbery in Gulshan-i-Iqbal where more than Rs3 million was taken away.
This time again seven men executed the job that lasted only a few minutes.
“The UBL branch is located near Metro Cinema and it was around 9.30am when the incident took place,” said Inspector Pervez Gujjar, the SHO of the Peerabad police station.
“A hi-roof carrying seven young men stopped in front of the branch along the main road. According to witnesses, four men entered the branch and pulled out pistols before their accomplices came in.”
There were not many people inside the branch that included the staff and customers when the bandits stormed in, he said, adding that they first overpowered the two private security and a police guards posted at the facility.
“Unfortunately there was no resistance from the three security guards. But it was not because of their connivance with the suspects but, I should say, rather a serious lack of competence as by the time they sensed that something was going wrong, it was too late. The bandits also snatched the rifles from the private security guards and official sub-machine gun of the police constable before making them hostage with the other people inside the bank,” added the Peerabad SHO.
The bandits then moved to the cash counter, collected the money and left the branch with both the booty and the snatched guns. The management said the branch lost a total of Rs3.848 million in the heist.
“An FIR (477/2011) has been registered under Sections 392 (punishment for robbery) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code on a complaint of the branch manager against unidentified suspects,” said Inspector Gujjar.
Though the investigators still look for a breakthrough in the previous nine incidents of bank robberies committed this year, they link the dots found in the fresh incident with the one reported last month.
“On July 29 almost the same number of suspects robbed an Askari Bank branch in Gulshan-i-Iqbal’s block 6,” said a senior police official associated with the investigation section.
“They also used a hi-roof, which was quite unusual as the use of this vehicle in bank robberies was not witnessed before. Like they did in the Gulshan-i-Iqbal robbery, the bandits in Orangi Town, too, did not touch the cameras –– another very strange fact. So, we have acquired the footage recorded by the CCTV (closed-circuit television cameras) installed inside the branch.”
To ascertain facts, he said, the investigators would also look into the footage of both branch robberies –– of Gulshan-i-Iqbal and Orangi Town –– to look for resemblance in the appearances and features of the bandits.
“It would be a little too early to arrive at any conclusion but we are quite sure that we would get some clue through the footage. At least they will help in preparing sketches of the suspects,” he added.
Last year the city witnessed some 22 bank heists while the police authorities claimed to have solved 16 such cases, arresting more than a dozen suspects booked in the 2010 incidents.
They said multifaceted groups, including a few banned militant outfits, were found striking bank branches apparently to generate funds for their activities.