Robbers attack Bali ATM cash refilling team, making off with IDR1.8 billion after allegedly spraying tear gas

A BCA branch bank. Photo: Wikimedia Common

A whopping IDR1.8 billion (US$129,577) was stolen in Nusa Dua, Bali by a band of robbers right in a dramatic confrontation when a Bank Central Asia (BCA) ATM was being filled with cash on Wednesday night.

The thieves sprayed some sort of irritating liquid, alleged to be tear gas, at the team from PT Andalan, a money carrier service that partners with BCA.

The three PT Andalan employees on assignment to refill the BCA branch ATM in Mumbul, Nusa Dua, included driver Gede Mahardika, 50, Komang Antoni, 27, the employee tasked with filling the machine with cash, and Mikael Bagu Koro, 24, a security officer.

Before the money could even be refilled, they were sprayed with something that caused extreme irritation to their eyes, blinding them for about 10 minutes, reports Nusa Bali. The incident happened around 10:30pm.

Mahardika had been waiting in the company’s Daihatsu Luxio car with the engine still running as Antoni and Koro got out. But before they could do their job, an Innova pulled up behind them, with three masked men carrying a hammer, long rifle, and the spray. The men immediately sprayed Antoni and Koro, and then quickly broke the front window of the Luxio, to spray Mahardika as well, according to local reports.

As the PT Andalan team was disarmed, a group believed to be at least three people made off with five money bags containing IDR1.8 billion, taken from the safe of the Luxio car.

Police have launched a full-on investigation, already examining CCTV footage, which has lead them to believe that more than three people were involved in the heist—it’s just that only three got out of the vehicle. There was actually a Toyota Avanza that pulled up to the scene too, say police.

“The perpetrator is allegedly more than three people,” Denpasar Police Chief Hadi Purnomo said, as quoted by Nusa Bali.

“The initial theory is that the perpetrators had been following the victims from Denpasar,” said Purnomo.

Prior to arriving at BCA in Mumbul, the team had refilled a Mandari ATM in Hayam Wuruk, Denpasar.

The police chief then went on to say that PT Andalan does not coordinate with police when out on the job.

“To be honest, I’m very disappointed with PT Andalan because they do not ask for police escorts. They carry a lot of money, but do not coordinate with the police. It’s a high risk,” Purnomo said.

Purnomo said he also finds it odd that PT Andalan would fill ATMs at night, wondering if this was at the request of the bank or just company policy.

“This is what we will ask (in our investigation). Why not change the money in the morning or during the night? Why should it be in the night?”.

While ATM skimming is unfortunately rife in Bali, such brazen robberies are not common on the island.

In a less confrontational robbery, back in March 2018, IDR300 million (US$22,000) was stolen overnight from an ATM near the island’s Balangan Beach.

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