Thursday March 23, 2023

Robbers break open 34 bank lockers in eight-hour-long heist

April 12, 2021

A group of robbers broke open some three dozen lockers at a branch of a private bank in the Sakhi Hassan neighbourhood of Karachi during an eight-hour-long heist, police said on Sunday.

Officials said a group of four suspects broke into the bank, took its security guard hostage at gunpoint, bound him up with a rope and then broke open the lockers inside. They said the robbers got into the bank at 9pm on Saturday and stayed inside until 5am on Sunday, at which point they made off with valuables worth millions of rupees.

Police said they have detained two bank guards to help the investigation, as they believe a friend of one of the guards to be involved in the robbery. Officials said a guard named Inam told them that he and his friend had left for dinner on Saturday night, and that on his return to the bank, he found four men there. He said he was held hostage at gunpoint and taken into the bank.

Police said the security alarm had rung during the breaking of the lockers, but the staff of the security company visited the bank only on the outside and returned. Officials said the guard had not put up a fight, adding that the police were informed of the heist an hour after the robbers had left the bank because the guard had been bound with a rope before the breaking of the lockers.

They said the robbers broke open 34 lockers during their eight-hour-long operation and then made off with jewellery, cash, bonds and other items worth millions of rupees. Police said the robbers had brought a gas cutter and two cylinders along with them, adding that the suspects also took the DVR (digital video recorder) while making their escape.

The Criminal Investigation Agency’s SSP Haider Raza told the media that the robbers were well prepared, as they were aware of the construction work under way at the bank. He said the suspects even knew what time the security guard used to leave for his dinner.

Officials said the staff of the security company had arrived outside the bank again at 5am and seen two of the suspects there, adding that a hue and cry was raised that prompted the remaining two to get out of the bank, after which they all fled.

Inam the security guard said the robbers had been wearing shalwar kameez and conversing in Pashto. Besides detaining Inam and another guard, the police are looking for Inam’s friend who had accompanied him to dinner. Inam has been a security guard at the bank for nine years.

This was the second major bank heist in Karachi in less than a month, which shows that robberies have been increasing in the city and the law enforcement agencies continue to fail at curbing this menace as well as street crime.

On March 17, four men had robbed a bank branch at New Karachi’s Do Minute Chowrangi. They had made off with over Rs1 million before injuring two security guards of the bank.

Clad in shalwar kameez, the suspects had entered the bank and taken the staff members, customers and security guards hostage at gunpoint. Witnesses said the robbers had fired at least two warning shots while entering, following which they took all the people inside hostage and also injured two guards by hitting them with their guns.

Besides these bank robberies, on April 5, prize bonds worth Rs30 million were looted from a builder’s dispatch rider on Jamshed Road in what was considered the year’s biggest robbery.