KARACHI: Armed robbers stormed into a private bank branch in North Karachi on Wednesday morning and walked off with over Rs7.2 million in the year’s fourth such incident, police said.

They blamed the bank management for not following standard operating procedure (SOP) of the State Bank of Pakistan. Besides, the alarm system of the security firm concerned did not respond to the emergency.

Five suspects riding two motorcycles reached the Soneri Bank branch near Do Minute Chowrangi within the remit of the Khwaja Ajmer Nagri police station at around 10.15am.


Security firm failed to respond even after alarm was sounded multiple times


One of the robbers stayed outside while his accomplices entered the bank after overpowering and snatching the weapon of a guard deputed outside the branch.

SSP Central Muqaddas Haider said that during the scuffle with the guard, the glass door of the bank was smashed, but despite this another guard present inside the branch did not put up any resistance. Instead, he ran for cover to take refuge inside the bank, he added.

The robbers held the staff at gunpoint and ordered them to hand over keys of lockers. In their swift action, they took away Rs7,231,000.

The bank manager told investigators that the staff pressed the alarm button thrice as soon as they saw robbers entering the bank, but it did not respond, said the SSP.

During an initial probe, it emerged that two suspects wore helmets and only one of them was armed with a pistol. This suggested that the suspects might not be ‘professional’ robbers, he added.

The robbers escaped through the area’s congested streets, which also showed that they were familiar with the area, added the officer.

He said that the bank was located in a desolate place, where no other bank branch was situated.

“The bank management did not follow the prescribed SOP of the SBP as no bunker was established inside it,” said SSP Haider.

He regretted that the bank management also did not properly secure the main gate, which was actually a glass door.

Meanwhile, Sindh police chief A.D. Khowaja took notice of the bank robbery in North Karachi and sought a detailed inquiry report from DIG West Zulfiqar Larik.

He also directed the DIG CIA to launch an effective investigation into the incident and ensure arrest of the culprits.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2017

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