COIMBATORE/NAMAKKAL/SALEM: Seven special police teams that cracked the ATM heist case on Wednesday seized two cars, a truck, implements used to rob the machines and Rs 3.03 lakh in cash from the culprits. The total amount lost in Coimbatore was Rs 30 lakh. As a large amount is still to be recovered, the police suspect more are involved in the crime.
The Coimbatore special team had started following them from Madurai after they returned from Kerala. Meanwhile, Karur police alerted Namakkal police around 3 am about the suspicious movement of two cars and a truck. When the vehicles were waiting at the Keerambur check post, the Namakkal police rushed in. But before they arrived, the truck and one of the cars crossed. The team managed to nab two of accused.
The other car sped with the police team on its tail for over half an hour, but the accused disappeared into a farmland. “That was when we thought of deploying camera-mounted drones and the dog squad,” said Namakkal SP Ara Arularasu.
After making several announcements instructing the accused to come out, the dog squad was sent in. The police meanwhile sought two drones from private parties in Namakkal and Paramathivelur. There was another hitch: it was 5 am and the visibility was poor. Also, the area was vast and covered with coconut trees, thick bushes and multistoried buildings.
“While we were waiting to send the drones at dawn, the dog, Poigai, after sniffing the clothes of the men in the car, started to trace them. Poigai first identified a bag left behind within half a km from the spot and later a footwear,”he added.
When they reached a fork on the road and scratched their heads, Poigai found the way. The dog went straight and the policemen concentrated on Melapalayam, to which the road led. The criminals were actually holed up there. The drones arrived around 7:30 am. By then, the dog had led the police to almost half a km of the men.
The drone cam caught the accused hiding on the terrace of a building that had no stairs from the outside. They reached the terrace by jumping on to it from a coconut tree. Meanwhile, the Salem police, alerted by their Namakkal counterparts, caught the three men who eluded them near the Seelanaickenpatti Bypass.