The daylight robbery on Wednesday (April 9) at Muthoot Fincorp, Naupada was thwarted thanks to the presence of mind of a female employee, Shubhangi Fadtare, and watchman Sandeep Darole.
Around 3.45pm, Shubhangi, 23, the gold loan in-charge, was busy updating her files along with her colleague. Their manager was in the other cabin. A person came inside, sat in front of her and asked her where they kept gold. "I thought he was one of the customers. As I got up, I saw two more men enter the room. One had a chopper in his hand," she said.
When she told her colleague that the third person was carrying a chopper, "the other two removed their guns from their pockets and asked us move towards them."
The man with the chopper then went inside and brought the manager out. "One of the gunman caught my hand and asked me to move towards the door. I warned him not to touch me. I also told him not to touch our phones. He told me they did not need our phones, but only gold, and asked us to come out."
Then they asked about the gold jewellery in the display window. Shubhangi told them it was imitation gold. "He then asked me where we keep our gold? I told him we kept it in a locker in a private bank opposite our office," she said.
They then demanded cash and opened their table drawer only to find Rs37,000.
"Then they asked us to keep our phones on the table and get in the bathroom. They also called Sandeep Darole, our watchman, and pushed him into the bathroom. While all the three had left kept their phones outside, Darole had quietly carried his into the bathroom. The robbers then locked them from outside.
"We then removed the window panes of the bathroom and started calling for help. Darole then gave me his phone and I called our zone manager at Dombivli and told him what was happening. He immediately alerted other branches in Thane," she said.
Hearing their cry, people gathered below the building. By then two of the robbers had run away. By then people outside had locked the main gate. The other two came down, broke the lock and tried to escape. By then the police had arrived and they nabbed the two.
Three of the robbers have been arrested. "We caught two from the spot and one was caught from Diva at midnight. The fourth is absconding," police inspector Suman Chavan of Naupada station, said. The trio—Shaikh, Santosh Pawar, 29, and Imran Ahmed Aimuddin, 23, have been booked under IPC sections 394 342, 352 and 37 Mumbai Police Act.