Behind a series of ATM (automated teller machine) thefts in Punjab over the past two years, there might be just one gang from Ferozepur, five members of which are proclaimed offenders and three in the Ferozepur jail.
Sources in the police say that the gang that keeps a Toyota Innova car and a Mahindra Kipper pickup truck, both stolen, is wanted for the past two years. In earlier ATM heists, it reportedly used gas cutters, a plan it has now changed. A police team may move to Ferozepur to catch some members of the gang. Investigation into many ATM heists revealed a common pattern in crime.
On Wednesday, the gang had looted a State Bank of India ATM at Bulhowal, 15 kilometres from Hoshiarpur on the Tanda road, and took out Rs 9.10 lakh. The Ferozepur link came to light after a group, including a girl, decamped with a Punjab National Bank (PNB) ATM containing Rs 4.46 lakh from Sarhali village on the Jandiala-Phagwara road on September 26 and dumped the empty box in Ferozepur on September 28.
Police have asked banks for a month’s records of the ATM visitors but are wanting in patrolling around banks and the cash-vending machines in rural areas.
“Calling meeting with us is not sufficient,” said a bank official, adding: “The police should also act against irresponsible banks that do not follow the guidelines.”
In Tuesday’s SBI ATM theft case in Jandiala, 22 km from Jalandhar, in which the burglars decamped with `9.98 lakh, the raided kiosk had no surveillance camera.