Karachi: Over Rs6m looted from 2 banks in 1 day
KARACHI: While around Rs6.4 million in cash was robbed from two private banks in Gulistan-i-Jauhar and Baldia Town within a span of a few hours on Tuesday, one of the branches had been looted for the second time over the past two years, police said.
The robbers struck at a branch of the Bank Al Habib on Abul Asar Hafeez Jalandhari Road within the remit of the Sharea Faisal police station. At least five men entered the bank at around 4:15pm and held the three security guards and bank staff hostage at gunpoint.
According to the police, the armed men went straight towards the cash counter and the strong room, and took just six minutes to get away with Rs4.6 million in cash.
“The men arrived on one car and two motorcycles,” said SHO Bashir Khan. “We have been able to obtain the footage from closed-circuit television cameras since the robbers did not take away the DVR from the bank while fleeing.”
Earlier in the day, another robbery occurred at a branch of United Bank Limited (UBL) near Rubi Chowk in Baldia Town.
This particular branch was robbed for the second time on Tuesday. There had been another heist in March 2011 in which robbers had fled with more than Rs3 million.
“This was second heist at the same branch,” confirmed SSP Farooq Awan, Special Investigation Unit chief. “The same branch was also robbed back in March 2011.”
Around seven men entered the bank just after noon, at around 12:20pm. According to eye witnesses, the men came on four motorcycles and took about three minutes to complete their whole operation.
They first beat up the police constable of Saeedabad police station deployed at the bank for security reasons and later snatched his rifle. The suspects snatched the weapons of other security guards as well, Iqbal and Naseem, and held them hostage at gun point with the bank staff.
Constable Mohammad Abid put up a resistance as a result of which one of the robbers was also wounded, SHO Gulshan Junejo told Dawn later in the day, but he was overpowered.
The men made away with Rs1.8 million in cash.
A case was registered on behalf of the UBL branch manager. The police are also questioning the security guards for their possible involvement in the robbery.
However, the police are not sure if both heists are related or were carried out by the same gang. “At the moment it cannot be said with surety that both heists were conducted by the same gang,” said SSP Farooq Awan. “The common factors in both the incidents were the use of pistols and one of the suspects was wearing a helmet.”
However, SSP Awan said that judging from the activity in the United Bank branch in Baldia, with the help of close circuit footage, the suspects appeared to be amateurs. He also said that both robberies were different. “The suspects from the two robberies don’t seem to match,” he said after observing the closed-circuit footages.
The two consecutive bank robberies were the 15th and 16th of the year. Earlier in September, there were three bank heists in the city in Nazimabad, University Road and SITE causing losses of more than Rs4.4 million.