Robbers tried to break open an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) at an unguarded kiosk on the ground floor of the Dabgram branch of State Bank of India (SBI) under Ward 23 in Siliguri in the wee hours today. The incident was detected early morning. However, the attempt was futile as the miscreants failed to break open the safe inside the machine. The CCTV cameras installed inside the ATM counter may not have captured the suspects as they had sprayed black paint on them. The bank branch is located near Siliguri Women’s College.
The incident comes ahead of the Durga Puja and days after an armed robbery at the Burdwan Road branch of Muthoot Finance Limited. Miscreants had also made a similar attempt at an ATM counter at Matigara a few days ago.
Many people, meanwhile, demanded police should intensify night patrolling. The incident also follows police statements that they had heightened security in view of the approaching festivals.
Regional manager of the Siliguri SBI, Amit Kumar, said the bank authorities have filed a complaint with the police. The bank has 150 ATM counters in the town.
Sources said there were 833 ATMs of both nationalised and private banks in Siliguri and most of the counters of nationalised banks did not have security guards.
“There have been incidents of theft attempts at ATM counters since most of them do not have security guards,” said a police officer. Police officers said it appeared that the miscreants tried to pull the safe but failed.
“The miscreants were aware of CCTV cameras so they blackened them so that their images are not captured. They tried to break open the vault, but failed. In the absence of proper CCTV footage, it becomes difficult to track the culprits. Prima facie, it indicates it was the handiwork of criminals,” said an officer.
They said police have tried to ensure that the machines are guarded by high-tech security systems and that banks had been often advised to post guards and install burglar alarms in all ATMs. Ideally, two guards need to be deployed at nights, the officers said.