Year in Review: The thief who walked away with RM600,000

HE is possibly the slickest thief of all times in Malaysia having pulled off a bank heist armed with just a piece of paper.

There was no violence, neither did he use a firearm nor did he make any threats but he escaped on a friendly note with RM600,000 he allegedly stole from the safe vault of a bank in Damansara.

It was sheer confidence from the years of pulling off dozens of similar but way smaller thefts did he outdo tight security at the bank making off with the big haul past noon on Sept 8.

Casually dressed like a beach-goer, he came in a Bermuda shorts and t-shirt wearing a pair of slippers and posing as a fire extinguisher.

He showed bank staff a piece of paper that was supposedly the floor plan of the bank and told them he had come to inspect the fire extinguisher.

He mingled around with staff and gradually moved closer to the safe vault.

After engaging in small talk with the chief cashier, he seized the opportunity to step into the vault seconds after she stepped out of it.

He bundled the cash in a backpack he brought along and walked out of the bank past unsuspecting staff.

Just before he disappeared with the cash, he chatted with a security guard at the premises and told him that he would return with a colleague to assist him and complete the "task" of inspecting the fire extinguishers.

When the loss was eventually discovered the same day, it was too late.

The bank manager and chief cashier were detained by police for questioning and later freed.

Police began a hunt for the 28-year-old suspect dropped out of school at age 12 and is married to a university graduate and has two children.

After his photo was released to the media, it was not until three weeks later was he nabbed in Malacca at a relative's house.

Police recovered less than RM80,000 of the stolen loot.

The case landed him in more trouble when over 30 victims who had fallen victim to him in the past recognised him from the photo and came forward to lodge reports against him.

Most of the victim's suffered small losses amounting to a few hundred ringgit to a thousand ringgit and had earlier chosen not the lodge police reports.

On Oct 24, the man identified as Karthik Rajandran was charged in court for seven counts of theft and trespassing the Damansara bank branch and six other private companies including a lawyer's firm and a construction company on separate occasions.

The exclusive story that was front-paged in theSun drew great readership here and worldwide, garnering over 500,000 hits on the newspaper's web news portal - the highest ever for a single story since the website began its operation about 14 years ago.