Burglars struck at the Anchetty branch of the State Bank of India with a cylinder and gas-cutters, but the heist bid was bungled by a freak fire while they were cutting the grill of the window to the bank, a preliminary crime scene investigation has revealed. The fire forced the burglars to forego their plan midway through the attempted robbery and leave.
The incident came to light after a vigilant neighbour noticed lights on inside the bank at night.
The burglars had jumped into the back of the banks compound located on the main road overlooking the Anchetty bus stand. The burglars had made a bid to cut through the grill of the rear window. However, fire from the gas-cutter caught a calendar hanging near the window from the inside. The fire had spread, mildly inflaming some cables on the inside. The preliminary reconstruction of the crime scene was done by the police with the charred remains of the objects inside the bank near the rear window.
The burglars, pre-empting a smoke alarm, dropped their heist attempt and fled the spot. In the melee, the light was switched on, which alerted a neighbour in due course.
Anchetty police on being alerted, arrived at the spot and gathered evidence. Gas-cutters and welding tools and charred sheets were found inside the safe room. A cyclinder with a lengthy 20-ft. hose was also found abandoned, tucked away behind the shrubs behind the compound wall of the bank.
The bank services predominantly poor, daily wage labourers, who hold accounts to their MNREGS and other savings bank accounts.
There were no CCTVs around the periphery of the Bank, and no guard was appointed at the branch.
In 2015, a midnight heist at a Bank of Baroda branch of Gurubarapalli in Krishnagiri saw burglars taking off with over 6,400 sovereigns of gold jewellery pledged against loans by the predominantly rural, farming account holders. The case remained to be cracked.
The heist forced the spotlight on the absence of even cursory safeguards for banks and ATMs, followed by marathon meetings with bankers by the administration to ring in a system of safeguards. It was found that most of the banks had no guards for the branches as well as the ATMs as a cost-cutting measure.