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Monday, July 9, 2012

Withdrawal Symptoms: Daring ATM Heists


Ida Nadirah (ida@malaysiandigest.com)   
Thursday, 05 July 2012 21:34
atm_heistWhen you think of automated teller machines (ATMs), you would think that they are impenetrable and secure. However there have been too many cases of ATM theft in the Klang Valley of recent, and most are successful than not.
No place is safe for ATMs be it inside a supermarket, a secure compound, or publically open and the methods used vary creatively as the thieves are desperate at getting their hands on easy money at a large sum.

In the latest incident on July 3, six masked perpetrators rounded up a total of RM1.17 million stolen cash from four ATMs at the Carrefour hypermarket in Wangsa Maju. It was believed to have happened somewhere between 12am and 7am, as there were no security officers in charge during the hours.

According to news reports, the thieves had entered the hypermarket via an unguarded back door. The store had closed-circuit televisions (CCTV) surrounding the ATMs. The suspects were said to be from the Oxy-gang judging from their modus operandi was the use of oxy-fuel blowtorch (oxyacetylene or oxy welding torches) to cut through the ATMs. The robbers are also claimed to be foreigners.

In the latest update on the case, an Egyptian has been detained today for the ongoing investigation. The suspect was detained at his workplace in the hypermarket. The theft crime is said to be an inside job and the perpetrators were believed to be foreigners.

ATM ‘hit-and-run’ cases have been rampant in the past few years and robbers have been more and more daring. Some of those who are caught are foreigners. This year alone there have been at least nine cases. Police say most of these heists are committed by the same groups or gangs using similar techniques.


Past Cases

Below are reported cases on ATM thefts in the Klang Valley this year:

July 1 – Puchong

Just two days before the RM1.17 heist, there was an attempt to rob an ATM at I0I Mall in Puchong by a gang of thieves. They used the same modus operandi using the oxy-torch but failed when the torch emitted smoke and triggered the fire alarm. Break-in tools and an oxy-torch were left at the scene. The incident was reported to have happened around 3am.


June 24 – Seri Kembangan

Believed to be an inside job, an ATM robbery took place at ATMs near Equine Park, Seri Kembangan. The total sum of RM600,000 was stolen using keys and access code as the ATM was not forced open. Reports said the banks were withdrawn in a suspicious manner and eight CCTVs were blackened. The withdrawals took about 15 minutes.


June 14 – Subang Jaya

The culprits had tied a cable around the ATM and used a heavy vehicle to tow away the ATM in the late hours at the Subang Jaya Komuter Station. There were no security guards on duty as the only guard was terminated two weeks earlier. The four suspects were believed to have been the members of the same gang that had hit other ATM machines in the previous month.  The machine contained RM47,900 and it took them only three minutes to pull it off.


June 3 – Sepang

The same modus operandi was used by using a rope to cart away an ATM machine in Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi, Sepang. In the 3am incident, the thieves carted away an ATM after it had been pulled by a rope and loaded on a Toyota Avanza. Report said that police were tracking down the suspects as there were no CCTVs in the area. The robbers got away with RM37,520 that was in the machine.


May 29 – Brickfields
A security guard on duty at a supermarket in Brickfields dismissed a triggered alarm at 4:30am as short-circuit. Only when the security personnel switched off the alarm at 9:30am did he realized that the ATM machine was damaged. Evidently, an attempt to steal from the ATM had failed when the alarm was set off. The thief broke in the supermarket by digging a hole through the side door. Several sets of fingerprints were found by the forensic team and police suspected the attempted crime could have had a connection with a group responsible for several other recent ATM theft cases.


May 25 – Kerinchi

A gang of 10 men broke open an ATM at Universiti Putra LRT station and nabbed about RM60,000. The thieves took about an hour to drill their way into the ATM as they were captured on the CCTV, which showed the men arriving just after midnight. They first approached a cubicle where there was an ATM, but ignored and instead broke through a wooden door that led to another ATM. At 12.45pm, some 12 hours after the raid, the bank authorities found a malfunction alert in the ATM and sent a technician over to investigate it. The theft was only discovered later as the technician claimed he did not notice anything suspicious as there were no signs of a break-in on the front of the ATM.


April 30 – Pandan Indah

The thieves entered the supermarket through a side door and managed to steal RM190,000 out of several ATMs. Police were left with no leads as there were no CCTVs. The robbery was discovered by security guards at 7:50am during a shift change and lodged a report.


March 21 – Universiti Malaya

Thieves made off with RM200,000 by drilling into an ATM at Bangunan Perdana Siswa in Universiti Malaya. An ATM was pried open an ATM machine and RM200,000. The heist happened between midnight and 3am. The damaged ATM was discovered by a security guard at 4am. Police said they had obtained several leads and investigations were ongoing.


January 28 – Kajang

On an early Saturday morning, a group of Colombians attempted to cart away an ATM at a supermarket in Bandar Teknologi Kajang. The daring attempt took place at about 1:10am where the criminals used an iron cable fastened to the vehicle and drove several meters, yanking the ATM off the wall. In the middle of their struggle, a police patrol car arrived at the scene and resulted in the arrest of one of the Colombians after a brief scuffle while the rest escaped in the MPV.

The suspect in custody was reported to have had no travelling documents or any records of him travelling in the country. The authorities have identified several others gangs related to the case. They are all suspected to have entered the country illegally. The ATM contained RM 200,000.


mD



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