Kochi: A joint team of Kerala and Mumbai Police have arrested one Romanian national in connection with the hi-tech ATM robbery in which several people lost about Rs 4.5 lakhs in Thiruvananthapuram.
According to reports, the Hollywood-inspired ATM robbery was executed by three Romanian nationals who entered inside an ATM, stole data and robbed people of nearly Rs 4.5 lakhs in Kerala capital.
Mario Gabriel, 47, the Romanian citizen, was arrested from a hotel at Worli in Mumbai. He is being interrogated by the Mumbai police. The police said that two others have managed to flee the country.
An investigation by the Kerala Police found that three Romanians - Christine Victor, Mariyan Gabriel and Florin - are behind the hi-tech ATM theft. The three reached the Kerala capital as tourists.
They stayed in three luxurious hotels in the city. The three went out from the hotel in two-wheelers.
Two vehicles used by them has been recovered from Kovalam. The three stayed in three different hotels so that no one would suspect them. However, the three used to meet in different places of the city.
The racket was busted after many people filed a complaint with the police, following messages they had received on their phone intimating them about transactions, which they had not carried out.
The investigators claim that the suspects are part of an international racket, which hacked crucial data and stole people's money from ATMs in Mumbai and Delhi.
An SIT team had earlier left for Mumbai to carry out further investigations after which it arrested one Romanian national.
The state’s Special Investigation Team had earlier obtained CCTV footage from the SBI ATM at Althara Junction near Vellayambalam, where all the fraudulent transactions were carried out.
The video showed three people attaching an electronic device at the ATM counter, enabling the fraudsters to collect the PIN code and card details.
The device that was fixed above the ATM machine, had a micro camera and another device was placed in the card slot of the machine. According to the police, the micro camera might have helped in getting the ATM PINs.
This is one of the biggest ATM heists that the state has witnessed and the modus operandi followed is eerily similar to a 2009 Malayalam movie Robinhood starring Prithviraj.