A trio of alleged Iranian nationals has been doing their rounds scheming and scamming bank tellers and cashiers of other establishments in a spate of broad daylight robberies.
The Slave Island Police who were on the lookout for this trio had even informed the immigration and emigration authorities and also the passport control staff whilst forwarding images of these crooks in the hope that they would be nabbed on their departure. This was after a string of robberies ranging from Peradeniya, Panadura, Bandaragama, Kalutara, Akuressa, Slave Island, Fort and Hikkaduwa had been brought to their attention, commencing with a robbery conducted by this same trio caught on camera at a retail store of Noorbhoy’s in Colombo on the 12th of March 2014.
The Slave Island Police Station Crimes Division Inspector Nalaka Gunasekara speaking exclusively to the “Daily Mirror” said that on Friday the 28th of March 2014 he had a pleasant surprise when staff of a Bank Head Office in Colombo 2 had called the station informing him that one of his wanted suspects was apprehended by their staff and management.
A vigilant officer of the bank had identified the three thieves who had entered the bank in the hope of walking away by fleecing them. The Management of the bank had wisely and swiftly circulated the pictures and footage of the CCTV cameras of previous bank branch thefts by this group to their entire staff and had waited in the hope that the thieves may come back once again. Two thieves who smelt a rat when the officer who identified them had informed the teller, had made a bee-line towards the door and exited leaving one of the gang behind, who eventually got nabbed. The Head of Security of another prominent Bank who heard of this apprehension and had made a dart to Colombo 2 with CCTV evidence of a similar robbery that had taken place at their branches, further helped to identify the apprehended culprit to the Slave Island police, stamping the genuineness of this prized catch.
The thieves who operated very smartly and casually have never raised any alarm or cause for concern with their suave body language and calmness of operation. One would distract the security guard, one would distract the other staff by asking questions about products and services, whilst the main culprit would confuse the cashier/teller with his “broken English” leaving the cashier/teller confused as to what the thief’s request really was. Very cleverly they would nab money without the bank official even realising that a theft had taken place.
The total heists to date in this series of robberies totalling over Rs 5 million still continued, even after the arrest of Milad Rezaei. His other two accomplices who are currently at large and with the help of the woman now dressed in black abaya have continued similar burglaries in the Weligama and Akuressa areas confirming that Sri Lanka has now become a haven for foreign racketeers, tricksters, fraudsters and credit card scam artistes to cheat our ever smiling, friendly and unassuming Sri Lankan public. (Marlon Dale Ferreira)