In one of the biggest hauls, burglars made away with as much as 70 kg of gold worth, Rs 16 crore, from a Muthoot Finance outlet in Bengaluruâ€™s Lingarajapuram on Sunday night.
According to the police, the accused, at least four in number, drilled a hole through the washroom on the first floor of the building and used gas cutters to breach the iron door of the strong room.
The incident came to light when the staff of the outlet opened the office on Monday morning and found that the office had been ransacked and the strong room empty.
Following that the branch manager, Sangeetha G filed a police complaint and probe has begun since then. The shop is located on the first floor of Essar complex, which also houses a beauty parlour and a bakery. The third and fourth floors of the building are being used a Paying Guest accommodation for men.
Speaking with The Hindu, a senior police officer said the attack was a well-prepared one as they had deactivated the CCTV cameras and security alarms by disconnecting power supply before entering the office premises.
Police further said that they suspected the hand of insiders in this breach and found that there was a lack of adequate security personnel given the high worth of valuables stored. The firm had employed only one security guard and even he was on leave at the time of theft.
The neighbours were also unaware as there was a lot of ambient noise on account of Christmas season and the accused could carry out the act without attracting any attention.
To zero down on the accused, police are analysing CCTV footage of the nearby areas. They are also trying to identify the vehicle in the CCTV footage using which the accused arrived and left with the valuables.
The Times of India reported police are also probing if the occupants of the PG were behind the attack. It said police had found two LPG cylinders and several jewellery boxes in one of the rooms. The owner of the PG is also likely to face action for not collecting identity details of its occupants, it said.
Muthoot Finance has issued a statement:
"The General Public is informed that on 22 Dec 2019 a burglary has occurred at our Cookes Town branch located on Hennur Road, Bengaluru. The burglars numbering around five drilled a hole in the outer wall of the branch and gained entry to the first-floor building. Thereafter they also drilled open the door of the strong room using a gas cutter and decamped with part of the gold stored in locked cupboards.
The Police have been informed of the incident and Senior Police officials including the DCP have visited the spot and commenced investigation. FIR is being registered by the Police. The CCTV recordings have been retrieved and the Police have identified the burglars. Police is taking all steps to catch the burglars and recover the lost gold ornaments.
Our customers have been advised about the incident. We wish to assure them that all the gold in our premises is fully insured and the customers will not lose their gold or incur any loss on account of the burglary. Muthoot Finance Ltd will give top priority to safeguard their interest. We have sought some time from customers to enable the Police to recover the lost gold ornaments before we commence compensating them.
The branch operations are temporarily closed and we are taking efforts to commence regular operations soon."
(Note: This article has been updated to include the statement from Muthoot Finance)