VISHAKHAPATNAM: The stealing of around Rs 5 lakh cash from an ATM in Visakhapatnam has turned out to be the handiwork of two engineering students from Uttar Pradesh who took inspiration from a series of YouTube videos related to a similar crime reported from Gujarat a few years ago.
Swapnil Singh (22) from Kushinagar district and Satyarath Mishra (20) from Faizabad of Uttar Pradesh, both second year Computer Science Engineering (CSE) students of Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University (CSJM) University, Kanpur were arrested in the case and the police produced them before the media in Vizag on Wednesday.
Ramachandra Rao, ACP (Dwarka Zone) said, “After watching the YouTube videos related to an ATM theft case reported in Gujarat a few years ago. The duo decided to loot ATMs. They prepared duplicate keys.” He added that Swapnil’s father is a farmer, while Satyarath is son of a teacher.
Initially they failed when they tried to rob several ATMs in Kanpur and Odisha, but the duo came to Vizag to try their luck during their semester break, the police said.
The duo arrived in the city in the last week of June and conducted a recce before zeroing in on the ATM near the Cancer Hospital in MVP Colony.
“They first inserted an ATM card which had adequate balance and called for money. When the money came to the tray, they inserted the duplicate key, making the ATM unit halt. They opened the upper panel and took away the money from the tray inside the machine."
He continued saying, "In this case, since the money was taken from inside the tray and had not come out of the ATM, the amount was not debited from the account. Following the same procedure, they made some 51 attempts using four ATM cards on the same ATM between June 24 and 27, and stole around Rs 4.92 lakh,” the ACP said while explaining the details of the modus operandi.
All attempts were made between 11 pm and 2 pm on all the four days, the ACP added.
Police investigation revealed that after committing the crime, the duo returned to Kanpur and had purchased Royal Enfield bikes, smart phones, gold chains and rings. The cops also have recovered Rs 1.30 lakh from their bank accounts.
However, police said that such modus operandi would not work on the new ATMs which do not need keys anymore to open the unit.
“Such offences can be possible, if the ATM machines are not upgraded. Almost all the ATM machines in the city are the upgraded ones. But, the old ATMs still work with keys and the accused had skilfully chosen one of those. We have alerted the bank authorities to upgrade their ATMs soon,” the ACP said.
Asked about how the cops zeroed in on the accused, the police said they had gathered clues from the CCTV footage which had recorded the accused in action. The rest of the puzzle was solved by the technical team, the ACP added.