PETALING JAYA, Feb 26 — A meeting yesterday between an excavator owner and a potential client was to take place outside a bank in a town centre in Kuala Selangor where the heavy machinery was to be parked.
When the person who was supposed to rent the excavator did not turn up, the owner left it there.
Hours later, the excavator was used by a group of men to rip two automated teller machines (ATM) from the CIMB bank wall in Bestari Jaya. They fled with RM537,390.
The use of an excavator to steal ATM machines is a first. Previous thefts involved explosives, a backhoe, steel cables and other techniques.
Investigators digging for clues are baffled why the owner left the excavator outside the bank where its claw could easily reach the ATMs.
A source said police were questioning the owner.
There were no security guards on duty at the bank during the 5.10am incident.
Kuala Selangor police chief Supt Ruslan Abdullah said police got a call from a passer-by saying the bank had been broken into.
Surveillance cameras at the bank showed four men wearing full-face helmets using the excavator to drag out the ATMs.
The men had first used the excavator’s claw to rip one ATM out of the bank.
They then lifted the machine and placed it on a waiting Toyota Hilux.
“At this point, the bank’s alarm was triggered. An attempt to load another ATM on the pick-up was unsuccessful and they left it along the corridor.”
Ruslan said the men panicked when the alarm went off and abandoned the second machine.
He said the excavator door was cut open using an oxy-acetylene torch.
“They tampered with the excavator’s wiring system to jumpstart its engine,” he said.
Police found seven fingerprints at the scene.
The excavator owner told police he received a call the day before from a man who wanted to rent his equipment.
The caller had told him to bring the excavator to the location near the bank. The owner had rented a lorry to transport the excavator.
However, the caller did not turn up and the excavator was left there because the owner could not transport it back to his storage yard.
On Monday, a group of men carted away an ATM from a factory in Bandar Putra, Klang. They dragged out the machine using a cable attached to a car.
However, they abandoned the machine a few kilometres away with the money still inside.
Police are hunting all the suspects.