Trickster who swapped ATM cards, withdrew others’ money held

A trickster who used to swap ATM cards and withdraw money from the accounts of gullible people in the guise of helping them to operate ATMs in several districts was arrested in Tirumangalam.

The police identified the accused as K. Thambiraj (44) of Bodi in Theni district. Interrogation revealed that Thambiraj was involved in 23 cases in which he pretended to be helping people take cash from the ATMs. “He has operated in various places and has been leading a luxurious life with a big house and a car,” said Tirumangalam Deputy Superintendent of Police S.S. Vinothini.

The police said his long run came to an end after he made a similar attempt with a head constable, K. Chellapandi, in Tirumangalam on Sunday morning. Thambiraj waiting at the ATM of a nationalised bank on Virudhunagar Road volunteered to help Mr. Chellapandi when the machine did not accept his card.

“Within a fraction of a second, he pulled my card and inserted it into the ATM machine. After I punched in my PIN, he returned me the card,” said Mr. Chellapandi. However, later he realised that the man had given him a different ATM card and he had swapped it in a jiff that the head constable did not notice it.

On Wednesday, when he was found roaming in a suspicious manner, the police picked him up and he was identified by the victim.

During interrogation, it was found that he was in possession of ₹1.50 lakh which he had withdrawn using ATM cards of four different persons in the last few days. The police have also seized 52 debit cards from him. The man has also used the debit cards to buy jewellery.

“After duping a few people in one place, he would move to some other district,” Ms. Vinothini added. She said further interrogation by police from different districts could solve more such cheating cases.

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