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Bank robbery: Why 3 Delhi thieves stole only coins from Syndicate Bank branch

Delhi Police arrested three men from north Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar for allegedly stealing Rs 2.3 lakh from a Syndicate Bank branch. The robbers left the banknotes untouched

delhi Updated: Aug 24, 2017 22:32 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Syndicate Bank,Bank robbery,Bank heist
Delhi Police recovered coins of Rs 5 and Rs 10 amounting to Rs 2.3 lakh stolen by three accused from Syndicate Bank in 46 polythene bags.(Representative Photo)

Taking seriously rumours that a tracking chip was installed in currency notes after demonetisation, three robbers in Delhi allegedly stole lakhs of rupees from a bank only in coins to avoid getting detected.

The three friends, contractual employees at a Delhi Transport Corporation bus depot where the bank is located, told the police they had planned to sneak away with the coins because they believed notes could be tracked down.

The men were arrested on Tuesday evening, 12 hours after they robbed Syndicate Bank’s branch in north Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar.

Police found coins of Rs 5 and Rs 10 amounting to Rs 2.3 lakh stolen from the bank in 46 polythene bags.

“They said stealing banknotes, especially the Rs 2,000 notes, was not their plan at all as they believed that notes could be tracked through chips or GPS after demonetisation. So, they decided to steal all the coins instead,” a police official said.

They also thought coins would be easier to use as shops and money exchangers might accept them without suspicion.

The three men were cleaners and storekeepers at the depot, which they joined a month ago. They told the police they planned the robbery after watching crime thrillers and heist films.

They entered the bank from a window. They had cut the window grille with equipment available at the depot. A bank employee noticed the window when he came to work that morning. That’s when the bank staff realised there had been a break-in and all Rs 5 and Rs 10 coins were missing.

When police began probing the case, they had two clues. “While breaking into the bank, they had ended up breaking two blades of a hacksaw they used to cut the window grille. The two broken blades and a plier left behind at the spot made us suspect it could be the handiwork of electricians,” said a senior police officer.

The officer said that the recoveries made the police suspect that people working at the DTC bus depot adjacent to the bank could be involved.

CCTV footage made the cops’ job easier. Though they were masked, one of them had an ‘R’ tattooed on his left wrist. Police began questioning the workers at the bus depot and looked for the tattoo.

The cops zeroed in on Rahul, a 21-year-old bus cleaner, who had a similar tattoo on his wrist. He led them to his two accomplices, Rahul and Anuj. All of them belong to Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh.

The arrested men led the police to the stolen coins which they had hidden on the roof of an abandoned building nearby, said police.

“They were unable to carry all the packets containing the heavy coins. So, they hid most of the coins under an empty white sack and carried along only five packets which contained roughly Rs 10,000,” the officer said, adding much of the Rs 10,000 was used by the suspects to buy ganja and smack.

A DTC spokesperson told HT that the accused were not employees of the corporation. “They were hired by the manufacturer responsible for maintaining our buses. However, we are planning to issue a letter of caution to all depots to create deterrence and prevent such incidents,” a DTC spokesperson said.

First Published: Aug 24, 2017 15:03 IST