KUALA LUMPUR – “Armed” with only a piece of paper, a conman walked into a bank at Damansara Heights and coolly left undetected with RM600,000 that he stole from a safe room.
Posing as a fire extinguisher maintenance man, the thief, who carried a backpack and wore a T-shirt, Bermuda shorts and slippers, was in and out of the bank with the money in just 20 minutes.
But it was not until about two hours later that the crime was detected by bank staff.
Sources described the thief as calm and confident. He entered the bank at about 12.30pm on Sept 8 and identified himself to staff as a technician of a fire extinguisher company.
He told them he was appointed to inspect the serviceability of the fire extinguishers and asked to be allowed into restricted areas.
It is learnt that after showing the staff a document that was supposedly the floor plan of the place, the bank manager met the man and asked him for identification.
When he could not produce any, the bank manager is said to have disallowed him from carrying out the so-called inspection, before leaving for lunch.
The man however, decided to remain at the premises where a closed-circuit security camera showed him loitering at the place before sneaking through a door behind the bank’s counters.
He apparently pretended to check the extinguishers in the midst of unsuspecting staff who were busy serving customers and edged closer to the safe room where the cash was kept.
Sources said the safe room was accessible to only the bank manager and the chief cashier via a personal access code.
When the cashier walked into the safe room, the thief placed a piece of magnet on the auto-lock latch of the door – disabling the latch from automatically locking the door on being shut.
Minutes after the cashier walked out, the man was spotted on CCTV footage walking towards the safe room and coolly opening the door.
He stepped in and helped himself to wads of cash which he stuffed it into the backpack he was carrying. The thief then left the restricted area and coolly walked out of the bank.
Sources said the crook had also stopped to have a chat with the bank’s security guard, telling him that his staff who were to help him with the inspection had failed to show up and he would return later after fetching them.
Earlier, he is also said to have had engaged in conversation with the chief cashier before pulling off the theft.
At about 2.30pm, when the bank manager returned from his break, he enquired from his staff about the whereabouts of the man but was told that he had left.
He became suspicious and on checking the safe vault, he found RM600,000 missing.
Sources also said soon after the case was reported to police, investigators arrested the bank manager who is in his 40’s.
The manager was remanded for two days for questioning and was freed after he was cleared of involvement in the case.
On Sunday, police arrested the chief cashier but she was freed hours later after being questioned.
It is learnt that both the senior staff have been suspended by the bank.
Investigators also learnt that prior to the theft, the suspect had made a similar attempt at another office of a company after claiming he was an air-conditioning technician summoned for repair work.
However, staff of the company became suspicious and denied him entry.
The man left and then headed out to the bank.
Sources said investigators are appalled by the sheer negligence of the bank’s staff.
“He neither had an identification card of any company nor was he clad in attire that technicians usually wear. He casually dressed in shorts, T-shirt and slippers. All these should have raised suspicion,” sources said.
Today, police released images of the suspect taken from CCTV footages to the public.
Brickfields police chief ACP Ruslan Khalid said police believe the man is in his 30’s.
Anyone with information about him can contact investigations officer ASP Mohd Hafizi bin Ishak at 017-2336343 or Brickfields police at 03-90516222.
They can also call Kuala Lumpur police hotline at 03-21159999 or SMS at 32728 or contact the nearest police station.