Robbers in Pune stole Rs 1.50 lakh using sharpened matchsticks to make ATM machines dysfunctional, copy pin of person before them and withdraw desired amount
Akram Ansari and Javed Kurshid Ansari
Here are two thieves who truly thought out of the (match) box, before being caught. The Pune city cyber cell on June 9 arrested Mohammad Akram Ansari (22) and Javed Kurshid Ansari (19), school dropouts who hail from Uttar Pradesh, for stealing Rs 1.50 lakh from 18 ATMs by temporarily disabling them with a sharpened matchstick.
Since January, 18 victims had approached the cyber cell to complain about cash being withdrawn from their account, despite the ATM machine showing a failed transaction message. Cops at the cyber cell then began tracking these ATMs.
The accused would first enter an ATM and place a matchstick under the blank key to the left of the zero key, to slow down the machine.
Constable Adesh Chalwadi said, "We observed that such incidents were happening only in particular areas. So we deployed teams there. At one such ATM, I noticed the duo were up to some mischief. They were then brought to the police station." Once there, the thieves told the cops about their modus operandi.
They would wait for another person to go inside for withdrawing cash. But, the transaction would not go through.
"The duo would place a sharpened matchstick on the blank key to the left of the zero key and wait for a person to come and withdraw cash. They would then observe the person entering their ATM pin," added Chalwadi. Since the machine would work slowly because of the matchstick, the transaction would not go through.
The thieves would observe the person’s ATM pin and then heckle the person, asking them to hurry up.
The duo would then heckle the person to finish their business quickly and often, the person. "Later, the culprit who was standing behind would remove the stick with a blade, enter the pin and withdraw the cash," said Chalwadi, adding, "They might have committed more crimes, but only 18 people have turned up so far." Mohammad and Javed would use the stolen money to buy new clothes and have meals at three or four-star hotels.
If the person left with an incomplete transaction, they would enter his pin and withdraw the money they wanted. Illustration/Ravi Jadhav
Part of gang
Radhika Phadke, senior inspector, cyber cell said, "The duo are part of a gang which collects money in one city to travel to another destination. They've committed similar crimes in New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and were heading to Mumbai next." They have been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act.
sambhaji sarseand amit ojha
'We'd gone to Shivaji Nagar to withdraw cash, where we saw a huge queue. Behind me, there was man. When we went inside the ATM, we noticed that the system was slow. Later, we received a message of R4,500 being withdrawn from the account, but no such amount came out from the ATM. We initially thought the bank would revert the amount, as there was no cash dispensed from the ATM. We repeatedly followed up with banks and noticed that no such amount was removed. The CCTV was also dysfunctional at the ATM. We thought the bank was upto some mischief, so we approached the cops."
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