Kuala Lumpur: In the biggest ATM theft yet, a gang raided the Carrefour hypermarket in Wangsa Maju and grabbed RM1.17 million from four automated teller machines, right under the noses of the security guards early yesterday morning.
The brazen raid by at least eight men adds to the fastgrowing litany of ATMs thefts, that is giving the police and banks a major headache.
Police described the thieves in the latest incident as professionals who had carefully planned the theft.
The thieves covered the video survelliance cameras with prayer mats and cloth and were also cautious as they placed a paper to block the built--in cameras inside the machines.
There is strong suspicion that the gang of South Americans who were blamed for several ATM thefts in recent weeks could have been behind this.
Sentul police deputy chief Supt Othman Abu Bakar said the raid appeared to have been "well--planned, going by the execution which did not catch the attention of even the security guards".
He said the suspects must have surveyed the area for a long time before making their move.
Thieves take two hours to grab cash
He said a security guard on the his rounds spotted the break--in at 7am and discovered that closed--circuit television (CCTV) cameras had been tampered with.
It was then discovered that the suspects had used an oxygas to cut through into the ATM machines.
"We believe they may have taken at least two hours to get to the cash. Several bottles of water and soft drinks found near the ATMs," he said when met at the scene.
The ATMs were placed in a row on the first floor of the hypermarket "One of the CCTV's camera direction had been moved to another side one day earlier at 4pm, but the security of the hypermarket never noticed it," he said.
Police believe the suspects had made their way inside the hypermarket by breaking through an emergency door at the underground level.
"They may have tampered with the emergency door a day earlier in order to waste no time on the day of the raid," he said.
A Carrefour security guard said one of the CCTV cameras had captured, from a distance, the images of eight people clad in black on the ground floor of the hypermarket.
He said their faces were not seen as they were either wearing facemask or had covered their faces with cloth. Othman urged members of the public with information on the incident to contact the nearest police station.
"We want to know if same suspects in the other ATM robberies were involved in this hypermarket raid."