Robbers broke into an ATM (automated teller machine) of Punjab and Sind Bank at Qila Lal Singh village here late on Wednesday night and stole Rs 4.87 lakh.
The theft took place right under the nose of police - just 300-metre away from the Qila Lal Singh police station on the Batala-Dera Baba Nanak road.
"The robbers reached the ATM booth at 2.15 am on Wednesday with their face covered with monkey caps. They used a gas-cutter to break open the shutter locks. One of the robbers then entered the booth and sprayed paint on a CCTV camera," said Harpal singh, station house officer at Qila Lal Singh police station. They later broke open the ATM chest and decamped with Rs 4.87 lakh, he said.
Locals noticed the broken locks on Thursday morning and alerted branch manager Surinder Kumar Bagga, who informed police. A police team led by Batala senior superintendent of police (SSP) Inderbir Singh rushed to the spot.
The SSP told Hindustan Times that police had registered a case under Indian Penal Code sections 380 (theft) and 457 (housebreaking) against unidentified persons. The CCTV footage is being scanned.
Police have sounded a red alert in the area, while claiming that the accused will be arrested soon.
Cops in slumber
March 10: Rs 6.65 lakh stolen from a Punjab Grahmin Vikas Bank ATM at Ammo Nangal village. The theft took place on the Batala-Beas highway just 500-metre away from the Ammo Nangal police post
January 22: Rs 3.92 lakh stolen from an ATM of Punjab Grahmin Vikas Bank at Naushera Majha Singh viilage. The ATM is situated just 100-metre from the Naushera police post
No security at ATMs
The banks remain indifferent to the security of ATM booths in the area. As per an RBI (Reserve Bank of India) guideline, it is mandatory for every bank to install a security guard, CCTV cameras and trigger alarms at all the ATM booths.
However, in Batala, most ATMs don't have a security guard, while CCTV cameras are either missing or have become defunct, making these ATMs easy target for robbers.