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Mumbai crime: 'Armed' with umbrellas, bank robber steals Rs 1 crore

Police have nabbed a thief who used to enter banks and walk away with lakhs in cash by hiding his face under umbrellas and raincoats to avoid the CCTV cameras; two key makers have also been arrested

A robber managed to loot three banks in the last three years to the tune of Rs 1 crore without leaving a single clue behind.

Hrishikesh Barikh committed the latest robbery at Canara Bank in Ghatkopar on August 25, and walked away with Rs 55 lakh
Hrishikesh Barikh committed the latest robbery at Canara Bank in Ghatkopar on August 25, and walked away with Rs 55 lakh

He used to enter the banks while covering his face with an umbrella or a raincoat, in order to avoid being captured by the CCTV cameras on the premises. The Ghatkopar police nabbed the mastermind and two of his accomplices.

The accused, Hrishikesh Barikh, used an umbrella to hide his face from the CCTV cameras
The accused, Hrishikesh Barikh, used an umbrella to hide his face from the CCTV cameras

According to the police, the accused were identified as Yusuf Mehboob Khan (36), Mohammad Irfan Shaikh (32) two key makers and the mastermind, Hrishikesh Barikh (33).

Barikh committed the latest robbery at Canara Bank in Ghatkopar, where he walked away with Rs 55 lakh. Police also suspect an insider’s hand in the crime, since the 33-year-old had a duplicate key to the safe.

Modus operandi
Sources from Ghatkopar police said Barikh, who hails from Odisha, entered Canara Bank around 7.40 pm while covering his face with an umbrella. He then walked straight to the safe, opened it with the help of duplicate keys and took out the cash.

“While looking through the CCTV footage of the bank, we spotted Barikh outside the bank gate along with a key maker on August 3. We rounded up all key makers in and around Ghatkopar. One of them Shaikh, a Govandi resident matched the person in the footage.

He told us Barikh, posing as a staffer, took him to the shutter of the bank and gave him its original set of keys to make duplicates, saying they were for the door,” the police officer said. Barikh then approached Khan, another key maker from Govandi, asking him to duplicate another set of keys those to the main safe four to five days before the robbery.

Both Khan and Shaikh didn’t know of Barikh’s plan. Police suspect that an insider gave the original sets to Barikh and is involved in the crime. After Shaikh was interrogated, police managed to trace Barikh from Odisha. He then confessed about his involvement in the Canara Bank robbery and another robbery in Dadar.

Three years ago
“He has been involved in more than two bank thefts since 2011. We are investigating their involvement more such cases. Apart from the recent Canara Bank robbery, the accused have committed two more thefts in Dadar-based banks,” said an officer from Ghatkopar police.

Barikh revealed he had robbed R15.2 lakh from Union Bank in Dadar using the same modus operandi, in June 2011. Police also suspect he stole R30 lakh from the safe of Dena Bank in Shivaji Park, in September 2012, in which the accused entered the bank wearing raincoats.

Khan, Shaikh and Barikh were arrested on Monday and booked under sections 457 (Lurking house-trespass or house-breaking by night), 380 (theft in dwelling house, etc) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. They were remanded to police custody till September 12. Inspector Yakub Mulla of Ghatkopar police station said he couldn’t reveal much else.

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