Unidentified miscreants decamped with an automated teller machine (ATM) of the State Bank of India from a booth in a market at Morni T-point near Chandimandir toll plaza on Monday night.
Basheer Khan, a vendor of sweets, whose shop was just next to the ATM, said when he had closed his shop at 10 pm on Monday the machine was intact.
“When I came to the shop around 5.45 am on Tuesday, the ATM was missing. I immediately alerted people who used to load cash in the machine. They reached the spot in 15 minutes,” said Khan. The police reached the spot around 9 am.
Chandimandir police station SHO inspector Satish Kumar, Kalka assistant commissioner of police Krishan Hooda and deputy commissioner of police Ashwin Shenvi also inspected the spot.
There was no guard at the ATM booth, which was became functional about three-and-half-months ago, despite the fact that the lock of the booth was found broken a month ago too, revealed Khan.
In last 10 months, this is the third incident of thieves targeting ATMs in Panchkula district but this is the first time that an ATM machine was dismantled and taken away.
Though it's mandatory for the banks to deploy security guards at the ATMs round-the-clock, SBI's cash vending outlet targeted by thieves was without such arrangement. The job of loading cash in the ATM was outsourced to Securitans firm, whose employees will also be questioned by police.
The police said about R15-16 lakh was loaded in the ATM during the daytime on Monday. The miscreants did not have to make much effort, as the machine was not fixed firmly to the ground. “The lens of CCTV camera in the booth was found to be blocked with a tape. And, the footage could not be traced as the hard-disk was fitted inside the ATM,” said DCP Ashwin Shenvi.
Ishwar Chand, owner of a neighbouring shop, said there was no police patrol in the area, while the market, too, did not have a watchman.
September 30, 2012: Two thieves used a gas cutter to break open an ATM and fled away with R 8.31 lakh in Sector 12-A, Panchkula. Randhir Singh and Rajiv Shukla were arrested for the theft. Singh used to work as a cash loader for a private firm.
July 5, 2012: Unidentified miscreants made an unsuccessful attempt to break open an ATM of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) at the Hindustan Machine Tool (HMT) complex, Pinjore.
On May 9, 2012, four young call centre executives, including two former employees, were arrested while making an attempt to break an ATM in Behlana near Zirakpur of SAS Nagar district.