Mumbai Crime: How teenage boys duped people of thousands at ATMs with powerful glue

Mar 13, 2018, 08:28 IST | Hajra Bi

Cops arrest teenaged twosome who withdrew thousands from accounts of unsuspecting victims after tampering with ATM keypads by using adhesive

Representational Picture
Representational Picture

A laptop-like keypad and some glue were all two teenagers needed to craft a near-perfect ATM fraud. While the heavy-duty adhesive helped them to get thousands of rupees from bank accounts of unsuspecting people, they could only stick it out for so long. The two — Sahil Shaikh and Swarup Khamkar, both 19 — were arrested on March 9.

The DN Nagar police caught the Kurla boys after seeing them lurking outside an ATM kiosk in Andheri. Their arrest comes three months after they'd successfully duped nearly 18 people.

Modus operandi
They would identify ATMs with a laptop-like keyboard, pull out a few buttons and pour a powerful adhesive at the corner of a few buttons, making them non-functional.

They would then wait outside the kiosk. Once they spotted a potential victim, they would wait for the person to go in and start the transaction. The moment s/he swiped his/her card and tried to enter details, the stuck keypad wouldn't let them proceed.

One of the accused would peep inside on the pretext of helping the person. He would ask for the PIN and give up after a few attempts. Unaware of the duo's designs, the frustrated person would give up and leave, without cancelling the transaction. Once s/he stepped out, Shaikh and Khamkar would move in, remove the glue and withdraw thousands of rupees from the person's account by using the PIN.

Caught at last
A police source said cops started keeping a close watch on ATM kiosks after getting complaints of people losing their money there. They spotted the boys outside a kiosk for over 15 minutes, their body language suspicious. They were then detained. The source added that the two were students of a cabin crew course in Lokhandwala, Andheri. So far, three people, who have each lost Rs 25,000, have approached the police.

For a quick buck
Prima facie investigation has revealed the accused's motive was to make a quick buck. They confessed to having learnt this trick from one of their friends two years ago. They recently bought a motorbike, but cops are yet to ascertain whether or not the bike has been purchased with stolen money.

Investigating officer Shrinivas Chewale said they mostly targeted people in ATM kiosks of Kotak Mahindra Bank, as their machines have a keypad similar to that of a laptop, making its buttons easier to toy with. Chewale also said they will be having a meeting with a team from the bank to discuss the matter and help them find a solution.

Police says
"The accused have been booked under section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Information Technology Act, and sent to police custody," said senior inspector Parmeshwar Ganame.

Also read: Mumbai crime: ATM card skimming frauds from Romania loot Rs 9 lakh, arrested

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