Mechanical engineer arrested for robbing bank at knifepoint to pay off loan

Police in the Southeast Division have solved a bank robbery case and arrested a 28-year-old mechanical engineer who allegedly held bank staff at knifepoint and carried away 1.8kg of gold jewelery and ₹3.7 lakh in cash. The incident happened on January 14 at the Madiwala branch of the State Bank of India.

After scanning CCTV footage, a special team led by Sudhir M. Hegde (ACP, Madiwala sub-division) identified the accused, Dhiraj S., and found him in Yelahanka within four days of the arrest. incident. “Dhiraj was arrested while visiting a friend to repay a loan he had taken out to her,” a police officer said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (South East) Srinath Mahadev Joshi said the accused is a resident of Kamakshipalya and lived with his father and younger brother. “He is a mechanical engineer by profession and employed by a private company in Indiranagar,” he said.

“Loss of money on online transactions”

Investigations revealed that Dhiraj invested thousands of rupees in online trading but suffered huge losses. He borrowed heavily and took out loans from private banks and friends. “He even pawned gold jewelry belonging to his late mother. Under pressure to repay the loans, he hatched a plan to rob a bank,” police said.

Investigations revealed that he had read newspaper articles about bank robberies and visited websites to carry out burglaries. “He watched videos online trying to find advice on how to get away with a bank robbery. He then scoured the banks looking for branches that appeared to have fewer security measures,” a senior police officer said.

After days of searching, he decided to rob the Madiwala branch of SBI at the time of Makar Sankranti and spent two days monitoring the bank. On January 14, around 6 p.m., his face covered with a mask, he burst into the bank with a knife and threatened the manager and staff. He forced them to fill his bag with cash and jewelry and fled.

“He walked for three kilometers before boarding an autorickshaw to Banashankari bus station. From there he took a bus to Majestic and then another bus to Chikkamagaluru. In this way, he went to Tarikere, Tumakuru and as far as Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, before returning to Bengaluru,” the policeman added. He did it in an attempt to dodge the police.

When he returned to town, he began paying off his loans and was able to buy back his mother’s jewelry from the gold company he had pledged it to.

How the case was cracked

Meanwhile, the police team led by Mr Hegde, based on CCTV footage and a suspicious call from the mobile tower closest to the bank, obtained a photo of Dhiraj unmasked. When they discovered where he lived, a team visited the house where they discovered other photos of Dhiraj that matched the one they had. “When we started collecting information on him, we learned about his loans. In fact, many of his friends said he only paid them back recently. The timing was consistent with the bank robbery,” police said.

The police obtained a list of all the friends Dhiraj had to pay back. Teams were sent to their home, and one team was able to arrest him when he came to visit a friend in Yelahanka to pay him back. The police recovered 1.8 kg of gold, a backpack, a knife and a mobile phone.

Banking security breaches

During their investigation, the police found failures by part of the bank in terms of adequate security coverage. “The bank should have an appropriate alarm system that can be activated so that the nearest police station or control room is alerted in the event of theft,” a police officer said. He added that staff members had received no training on how to handle such situations.

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