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The Thalawa branch of a state bank was robbed over the weekend and cash and jewellery valued at over Rs.95 million had been stolen by thieves.

The Police Spokesman’s office told the Daily News that the robbers had entered the bank through the back door and had used a welding torch to cut open three safes containing the cash and jewellery.

The bank had closed for business on Friday and when it reopened yesterday, the staff realised that the bank had been broken into.

The robbers are said to have entered the bank and disconnected the alarm system which was connected to the Police station. They had also disabled the CCTV camera system and taken away the Digital Video Recorder (or “DVR” for short) which is essentially a computer that saves security video images to a hard drive.

They had also taken away the Wifi device.

The thieves had silently cut open the safes and had only left behind a piece of cloth and a screw driver. The Police with the aid of the sniffer dog ‘Hero’ were led to an abandoned house and back onto the Thalawa–Anuradhapura main road.

Police spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekera said that Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundera last night handed over the investigation into this incident to the Criminal Investigation Department. In addition, eight Police teams have been deployed to carry out investigations and are following several leads to arrest the robbers. The Police suspect that the thieves may have stopped over at the abandoned house prior to fleeing the area.

The CCTV camera footage of the nearby buildings have also been taken by the Police for investigation, while statements were also recorded from the bank employees and the employees of shops in the neighbourhood.

Gold jewellery pawned by the customers weighing around 22.806 Kg had been robbed and the total value of gold alone is over Rs.78 million.

The thieves have also stolen around Rs.17 million in cash from the safe.

Around 17 months ago, a similar robbery was carried out ar Anuradhapura new town and the safes of a private financial institution were broken in the same manner with around 13.5 kg of gold valued at around Rs.75 million stolen.

A suspect from Jaffna known as Naguleswaran was arrested by the Police in connection with the Anuradhapura robbery. However, although three suspects were arrested by the Police none of the jewellery was recovered.

(Daily News)

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