Gurgaon: Thieves steal ATM from Islampur, 14th since December
Although city police commissioner Sandeep Khirwar has given strict directions that ATM thefts need to be curbed at all costs, sources in the department said that shortage of manpower was one of the reason that these incidents were going on unabatedUpdated: Mar 05, 2018 23:34 IST
Thieves managed to steal another ATM on the intervening night of Sunday and Monday from Islampur village near Sector 38 on Sohna road, thus taking the number of such thefts to 14 since December.
The ATM belonging to ICICI Bank was stolen around 2am by thieves, who decamped with the cash vending machine in a pickup truck which they had brought along with them. A case was registered at the Sadar police station against unidentified accused, on the basis of a complaint lodged of bank officials.
The incident came to light when locals heard a loud bang in the middle of the night and they came out to find that the glass panes of the ATM booth were broken and the cash vending machine was missing.
They informed the authorities about the incident after which a police team was rushed to the site, which is about 1.2km from the police station.
“It is suspected that these heists are the handiwork of a an organised gang which will be caught soon,” Gurgaon police public relation officer Ravinder Kumar said.
The police said they have asked crime branch officials to investigate and coordinate with bank officials for safety measures.
Although city police commissioner Sandeep Khirwar has given strict directions that ATM thefts need to be curbed at all costs, sources in the department said that shortage of manpower was one of the reason that these incidents were going on unabated.
In February, Khirwar had ordered an inquiry against Badshahpur SHO after a private bank’s ATM in Begumpura Khatola village was stolen twice within a span of 10 days.
The heist at Islampur is similar to what had happened in Bajghera on Friday night when thieves took six minutes to uproot a cash vending machine and load it in a pickup truck before making good their escape. In both cases, there was no security guard posted at the ATM booth, and CCTV cameras were damaged by the accused before they carried out the theft.
There are nearly 1,300 ATMs in Gurgaon district but there is no data on how many guards are posted at ATMs across the city and how many CCTV cameras installed at the kiosks are functional.
“The thieves and other miscreants take advantage of the fact that there is little or no police presence during the night. It is imperative that more police remains on roads during the night so that such incidents are prevented. People’s safety is only possible if there are more boots on the ground,” Mushtaq Ahmed, a resident of Sector 23A, said.
Gurgaon police had asked the banks to deploy armed security guards at the ATM kiosk after 35-year-old security guard, Bhupinder Kumar, a native of Saraiya, Bihar, was stabbed to death on August 29, 2014. Kumar died fighting off a 27-year-old man who had barged into the ATM kiosk and broken open the cash vault.
During a drive in June 2015, the Gurgaon police had closed seven ATM kiosks in sectors 40, 45, 30 and 31 where guards were not deployed. However, the drive did not cover the whole city.
“After going through the modus operandi of each case we have come to the conclusion that one or more organised gangs are behind these incidents. Now, crime branch has pressed its teams to investigate these thefts. We are working on several leads and the accused would be nabbed soon. Also, we are going to discuss the thefts with banks and district administration to ensure that security guidelines are followed strictly,” DCP (crime) Sumit Kuhar said.
The recent decision of Haryana government to recruit 1,000 special police officers for night duty in Gurgaon is likely to improve the situation, said officials. But till then the police is likely to face heat as thieves continue to strike when the police presence is thinnest.