PNB heist: How burglars executed a ‘perfect’ bank robbery
The branch was set up in November 1971 at the periphery of Modi tyre factory, which closed down in 1993. The branch is located adjacent to the erstwhile NH-58 with a four-foot drain running located at the entrance along the road.noida Updated: Jun 14, 2017 13:34 IST
The Punjab National Bank Kapda Mill branch that was breached by burglars was not an easy target. The burglars are suspected to have conducted a recce of the entire area to plan the ‘perfect’ heist.
The branch was set up in November 1971 at the periphery of Modi tyre factory, which closed down in 1993. The branch is located adjacent to the erstwhile NH-58 with a four-foot drain running located at the entrance along the road.
The defunct factory has four gates that are shut due to legal orders and also have guards posted. The entire periphery, nearly 1.5km, of the mill complex, is surrounded by a high wall, estimated 20-25 feet high and also staff quarters, which was set up for the mill workers. The internal area of the mill has turned uninhabitable due to thick vegetation and tree growth.
“It is not possible for burglars to enter the open area by scaling the wall. But they reached this area, drilled a hole from the rear of the strongroom and escaped from the same hole with valuables. It is suspected that they could have entered the mill complex from some houses located at the periphery,” said Dhruv Bhushsan Dubey, station house officer, Modi Nagar.
“Some of the residents have broken the high wall and use the area as a private space. The wall is so high that it is not scalable even with ladders. We had to use a fire brigade to move to the top and have a look at the hole they had drilled. We are also investigating the involvement of those residing here,” Dubey said.
The police suspect that the burglars used three nights to break the 9-10 inch thick concrete wall of the bank strongroom, as the bank closed on Friday and opened on Monday morning.
From the strongroom CCTV footage, the police have discerned that the burglars made a hole in the wall on Saturday evening, at 7.10 pm. The burglars broke drilled a hole nearly six feet above the ground level after failing to dig a tunnel.
“The hole was drilled made perfectly as it opened up just above the lockers. The burglars sneaked in and straightaway headed to break the lockers with an iron bar. Our cash vault had Rs17 lakh but it was not touched. They only targeted the lockers and exited from the same hole back into the jungle area,” Rajinder Sharma, deputy circle head, PNB, said.
The burglars had a thorough knowledge of the location of lockers and also about the sensors installed on the main gate of the strongroom. The burglars did not come near the main door and even dodged the motion sensors, sources said.
The police suspect that the burglars exited the open area through the same house they had used to enter. The other issue that customers put to the bank officials was the absence of security guards during the night.
“We have guards posted in the branch but not in the night. They are posted from 10am to 5pm. We never had any such incident earlier,” Sharma said.