Thieves dig 25-foot tunnel into bank

Robbers Dig in Tunnel Into Bank, Loot 27 Lockers

In an incident that could ring alarm bells for customers who think their jewellery and valuables are safe inside bank lockers, robbers in Navi Mumbai dug a 25-feet tunnel to enter a Bank of Baroda Juinagar branch.

"We suspect the thieves were studying the location of the locker room since May, after which they started digging". For most, building a tunnel, nearly like a "proper construction" five feet under the ground in a highly populated area, which is surrounded by banks and the resultant security, seemed unimaginable. "How could they go ahead with such an act in an area that witnesses constant police patrolling", said Kunal Patil, 44, another resident of the area. The dog squad led police officers to the railway station, which indicates that the accused may have fled by train. "The accused in this case could be linked to them".

The robbers made their move over the weekend when the bank was shut and managed to steal valuables from 30 of the 225 lockers. The Bank officials were shocked to open the bank only to find the robbery that already happened on Sunday.

In June this year, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other public sector banks, in a reply to a RTI said that banks have no liability for loss of valuables in locker, the reason being "the relationship they have with customers with regard to lockers is that of lessee (landlord) and lessor (tenant)".

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Employees of the bank, located in a Mumbai suburb, discovered the robbery on Monday morning and alerted the police.

Afaf Shaikh was nervous till she could check her locker and verify that all her belongings were intact. "All my life's savings were kept in the bank locker".

A case has been registered with the Sanpada police under Sections 454 (house break), 457 (house break at night) and 380 (theft in dwelling house) of the Indian Penal Code.

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