Conman in RM600,000 bank heist linked to 20 other cases

KUALA LUMPUR: A conman who sneaked into a bank's vault here and escaped with RM600,000 early last month continues to elude the police but the force has more details about the smooth operator and his modus operandi.

Since his daring robbery, police have learnt that he has fleeced over 20 other victims since 2014.

He had preyed mainly on private companies in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan, Melaka, and Johor stealing cash, cellphones and laptop computers.

Police investigators learnt of the man's past cases over the last two weeks when his victims called them up on recognising the man following theSun's exclusive report of the slick theft on Sept 19.

Police sources revealed that investigators learnt from the victims that the smooth-talking con artist had approached offices or retail stores posing mainly as a maintenance technician with expertise in several areas such as air conditioning, computer, plumbing or building.

"He was soft-spoken akin to being demure when he approached his victims. He never pressured them into allowing him access into the office and appears to prefer approaching female staff," sources said.

To divert their attention, he would engage them in casual conversation while he discreetly looked for valuables.

Due to his soft approach, his unsuspecting victims paid little attention and on seeing this, the suspect would take advantage and pocket cash and other valuables before leaving the place.

"It is usually over in less than 30 minutes when he steps out by claiming he had left a tool in his car or had to "fetch a colleague to assist him with the ongoing work." sources said.

Many of the victims told police that they chose not to lodge police reports as the losses were between hundreds to a few thousand ringgit.

A few also suspect the man had invoked black magic during the crimes as his victims were least suspicious of him when he loitered in the vicinity prior to the theft.

Although efforts by police to trace the thief are ongoing, investigators are baffled that despite the man's images going public, it has yet to yield positive response or a tip-off.

A police source said although his identity is yet to be ascertained, police are certain the man is Malaysian and there should be many including his family, friends and acquaintances who could recognise him but have chosen to not do so.

Border posts here have been ordered to be on high alert for the suspected thief.

Police believe that the man is in hiding and still in the country although it cannot be discounted that he may have fled Malaysia through illegal exit points.

Anyone with information about him can contact investigations officer ASP Mohd Hafizi bin Ishak at 017-2336343 or Brickfields police at 03-90516222.

They can also call Kuala Lumpur police hotline at 03-21159999 or SMS to 32728 or contact the nearest police station.

On Sept 8, "armed" with only a piece of paper, the conman walked into a bank at Damansara Heights and coolly 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 but it was not until about two hours later was the crime detected by bank staff.

He had entered the bank past noon on a busy Friday and identified himself to staff as a technician of a fire extinguisher company who was appointed to inspect the serviceability of the fire extinguishers and asked to be allowed into restricted areas.

He had also showed the staff a document that was supposedly the floor plan of the place and was denied access to restricted areas of the bank after he failed to show the bank manager his company identification.

However, he stayed on and managed to slip past a door to the staff area, mingled among staff including the chief cashier before finding his way into the safe room where he bundled the cash and left coolly after telling an unsuspecting security guard that he will return to complete the inspection after fetching another staff to assist him.

Following theSun's report, a a 33-year-old businessman who wanted to be known Chong and owns a shop in Bangsar told theSun the suspect visited his shop on Dec 4 last year under the pretext of carrying out pipework repairs.

He said the man who in his 30's came then moved around freely in the area and stole a handphone from the office before escaping.

On discovering the theft, Chong contacted his neighbour who told him that the man had also approached him and told him the same story.

Brickfields police chief ACP Ruslan Khalid said police believe the man is in his 30's.

Anyone with information about him can contact investigations officer ASP Mohd Hafizi bin Ishak at 017-2336343 or Brickfields police at 03-90516222.

They can also call Kuala Lumpur police hotline at 03-21159999 or SMS at 32728 or contact the nearest police station.