Conman in RM600,000 bank heist did similar sting last year

KUALA LUMPUR: The conman who walked into a bank at Damansara Heights and coolly left with RM600,000 that he stole from a safe room had struck before using the same modus operandi.

A previous victim has stepped forward and identified the perpetrator after theSun carried an exclusive report yesterday on the Sept 8 bank sting.

Chong, a 33-year-old businessman who owns a shop in Bangsar, said the suspect visited his shop on Dec 4 last year under the pretext of carrying out pipework repairs.

"The man, in his 30's, came to my shop and informed me that there is an ongoing pipe repair work beside my shop. Our shops are connected and this made us concerned about our water supply too. The suspect took this opportunity to roam around and steal a handphone from the office before fleeing," he told theSun.

Chong, upon realising what had transpired, quickly got in touch with his neighbour who told him that the man had given the same story about doing doing pipework in his neighbour's shop.

"This seems to be the guy's modus operandi and he is a smooth-talking criminal. He was quite fluent in English and seemed like a local to me," he said, adding that he subsequently lodged a police report at the Jalan Telawi police beat base in Bangsar.

Chong said he was caught by surprise when he saw the photos of the suspect taken from CCTV footage released by police to the public.

"The suspect was clad in the same blue T-shirt during the handphone theft which took place in my place," he added.

When contacted, Brickfields district police chief ACP Ruslan Khalid said police are hunting for the suspect.

"I can't rule out an inside job in the bank case because we have to get the suspect first so that we can establish what actually happened.

"On the handphone case, we will definitely look into it to further our probe," he added.

Sources said the investigators have identified at least three similar cases using the same modus operandi and possibly involving the same suspect.

On Monday, theSun front-paged that carrying only a piece of paper, a robber walked into the bank and left undetected with RM600,000 that he stole from a safe room.

Posing as a fire extinguisher maintenance man, the thief, who carried a backpack and wore a T-shirt, Bermuda shorts and slippers, was in and out of the bank with the money in just 20 minutes.

The thief entered the bank at about 12.30pm on Sept 8 and identified himself to staff as a technician of a fire extinguisher company appointed to inspect the serviceability of the fire extinguishers.

After showing the staff a document that was supposedly the floor plan of the place, the bank manager met the man and asked him for identification.

When he could not, the bank manager asked him to leave.

However, after the bank manager left for lunch, the suspect who remained at the premises launched his daring theft.

He pretended to check the extinguishers and edged closer to the vault which was accessible to only the bank manager and the chief cashier via a personal access code.

When the cashier walked into the vault, the thief placed a piece of magnet on the auto-lock latch of the door, thus disabling the latch from automatically locking the door on being shut.

Minutes after the cashier walked out, the man walked towards the vault and coolly opened the door before helping himself to wads of cash which he stuffed into the backpack he was carrying.

He then coolly walked out of the bank.