Robbers have targeted as many as 34 automated teller machines (ATMs) and looted more than Rs 1 crore in the past three years in the Doaba region, with police remaining clueless in most of the cases.
As per information, Hoshiarpur has been a favourite hunting ground for robbers with 17 heists taking place in the district alone during the same period.
Moreover, Bullowal of the district, where unidentified persons uprooted a State Bank of India (SBI) ATM containing Rs 9.1 lakh, is one area where three ATM robberies occurred in 2013.
Jalandhar district is not far behind its neighbouring district (Hoshiarpur) as seven ATM robberies having taken during the same period. Six such heists have taken place in Kapurthala district during this period.
In Nawanshahr, robbers targeted four ATMs of various banks during this period.
Earlier, robbers would use gas cutters to cut open ATMs, but now they uproot the cash machines and take them along.
In these cases, it has also been found that most of the ATMs have been targeted of Punjab National Bank (PNB).
PNB circle security officer Capt Ashwani Kumar said the bank has 92 ATMs in Jalandhar circle, of which 32 ATMs have e-surveillance system. “With the rise in such incidents, we have asked the authorities to install e-surveillance system in all ATMs but there is problem of internet network in remote area,” he said.
Night-vision CCTV cameras have also been installed in most of the ATMs, Kumar said. If someone tries to tamper with open the ATMs having e-surveillance, an immediate alert will be sent to security officer or police station, Kumar said.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, inspector general of police (zone-II) Ishwar Chander said the police have cracked several ATM thefts and they will crack the recent robberies in the zone as well.
“I have instructed all senior superintendents of police (SSPs) under my jurisdiction to interrogate history-sheeters in their areas and to hold meetings with bank authorities besides increasing patrolling,” he said.
Deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Sandeep Kumar Sharma said teams are tracking criminals and they will be nabbed soon.