ANGUL/BHUBANESWAR: In a broad daylight heist on Friday, a group of unidentified armed miscreants allegedly barged into an Andhra Bank branch in Odisha's Angul town and looted over Rs 23 lakh and gold ornaments at gunpoint.
Police sources said that the robbers arrived at the branch near Panchayat Chhack at about 10:30 am. They terrorised the bank staff and customers for over half-an-hour before decamping with cash and gold ornaments by breaking the strong room's iron chest.
A preliminary investigation revealed six bike-borne miscreants came in three two-wheelers and while one stood guard at the entrance after overpowering the security personnel, five entered into the bank.
"They snatched mobile phones from the bank staff and customers present at that time before locking them in a room. We could not dare to protest as they all were carrying pistols and threatening with dire consequences. They were speaking in Hindi," said an eyewitness.
A state police team, led by SP Mitrabhanu Mahapatra and a scientific team rushed to the spot to investigate the matter.
Though the police have not yet ascertained the number of robbers, the SP informed that they had dislodged the CCTV cameras and hard disk while committing the crime.
"The miscreants fled with the hard disk that stores CCTV video. We are now scanning the footage of nearby CCTV cameras to identify them. They had also thrashed some bank employees during the heist, but their condition is stated to be stable," Mahapatra said.
Meanwhile, the police have formed separate teams and launched a manhunt to nab the robbers. While the entry and exit points of the district have been sealed, police stations of neighbouring districts have been alerted about the robbery and asked to keep an eye on suspicious movement in their areas.
The bank employees were still evaluating the value of gold ornaments looted by the miscreants.
Since the miscreants were conversing in Hindi, police said, the involvement of criminals from neighbouring states cannot be ruled out.
"We also suspect they might have attempted to deceive the police by not speaking in local language. The investigation is based on some clues we have received so far. Hope the robbers will be arrested soon," the SP added.