The SBI bank branch at Manthani did not have a full-time security guard and had poor security, say police.

A bank official looks on as police inspect the crime scene at bank
news Crime Saturday, March 27, 2021 - 15:58

Police in Pedapalli of Telangana are on the lookout for a gang that broke into a branch of State Bank of India at Manthani and stole six kilograms of gold worth Rs 3.10 crore and Rs 18 lakh in cash. The incident took place in the early hours of Thursday and the officials haven’t yet found clues.

The SBI staff opened the bank on Thursday morning and found that the thieves had used the rear window and gas cutters to break into the safe. V Satyanarayana, commissioner of Ramahundam, told the media that a ‘professional’ gang was behind the theft and that eight police teams have been deployed to trace the accused. Police say the assailants had disconnected emergency alarms and had removed back up batteries along with CCTV cameras before proceeding to make the heist. They also took the digital video recorders from inside the bank to avoid being recognised.

On Friday, the commissioner told the media that the police had made progress in the case and that the accused will be apprehended within the next three days. The police have collected CCTV footage from nearby localities to zero in on the suspects. The New Indian Express reported that police have sent teams to Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh for chasing possible leads. Police say that this being a small branch, the bank had not employed a full-time security guard here.

Earlier in November 2020, an SBI bank was robbed using a similar modus operandi in Andhra Pradesh. The Guntur police had arrested two men who robbed an SBI bank branch at Nadikudi of Rs 85 lakhs. This bank too had neither a full-time security guard, nor did it have a burglar alarm. The thieves in that case too had used gas cutters to remove the grill, and used chilly powder to ward off sniffer dogs.

In 2017, thieves had stolen Rs 42 lakh from another SBI bank at Karimnagar in Telangana.

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