A gang of unidentified thieves cleared an unguarded ATM in an east Delhi locality of lakhs of rupees on Wednesday night.
Police said the gang probably used a couple of easily available gas cutters and, presumably, some crowbars and iron rods to clear the machine of R23 lakh. The Punjab National Bank (PNB) ATM was installed at Geeta Colony's block number seven. The incident came to light around 7:30am.
There was no guard posted outside the targetted booth, which was cleaned in an eight-hour interval by the over-cautious gang which took 'adequate care' to not leave any 'major' forensic proof behind, police claimed."It seems the gang performed a careful recce of the area around the machine before targetting it. Gas cutters were used to break into the machine which has been installed at ground level at a location rented in a residential area," said Pranhakar, DCP (east).
Police said the last transaction made from the targeted machine was at 11:15pm on Wednesday before the booth was found to have been broken into at 7:15am on Thursday.
The gang gained entry into the machine's cash box after pulling down an iron shutter installed outside the machine and worked at around three to four layers of 'protective metallic casing' surrounding its cash box with the gas cutters for around two hours, police said.
"No CCTV footage was recovered from the lone camera inside the ATM booth since, according to the bank, the camera is wired to only get active when an ATM card is inserted in the machine," said one of the senior officers investigating the incident, adding that the local police have registered a case.
Though the complexity of breaking into ATMs usually prompts gangs to get their hands on cash before it is deposited or after it has been withdrawn from them, this is not the first time that ATM machines have become sitting ducks for enterprising gangs of thieves in Delhi.
On 28, January 2010, an ATM machine installed at central Delhi's was found damaged. Police had said that petty thieves might have attempted to break into its cash chamber.