POLICE in Dar es Salaam have arrested a person who was about to steal from an ATM machine at Tabata in Dar es Salaam.
According to the Ilala Regional Police Commander (RPC), Ms Marietha Minangi, the suspect, whose identity was not immediately known, has committed such crimes for a long time in different banks in the city and that he is part of the syndicate involving a wave of ATM thefts in the country.
"The suspect is helping the police with their investigations, which are still in progress to get to the root of the syndicate," she said.
Ms Minangi said the suspect, whose charge sheet is with the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for further checks, has told the police that he learned about ATM theft techniques in Bulgaria and admitted carrying out several such crimes in the city.
According to eyewitnesses, the suspect had been struggling to manipulate the ATM system at some bank in the city, drawing the attention of a security guard, who suspected something fishy was going on, as the screen display appeared to have strange markings other than the normal display.
He then stormed into the ATM stall to establish what the suspect was doing and immediately raised an alarm. Bank customers who were waiting for their turn to use the ATM facility responded and arrested the suspect. The 'Sunday News' recently carried out a survey and established that ATM thefts had hit several banks in Dar es Salaam and other regions, including Mwanza and Arusha.
ATM theft in the country is a new experience and concerned authorities have advised financial institutions to consider and institute immediate measures to prevent it. Such theft has resulted into a number of banks having to pay colossal amounts of money as compensation to their clients who have had their monies stolen by ATM thieves.
According to sources and unconfirmed reports, the banks have lost 800m/- in compensation payments to affected customers. An ICT expert, Mr John Kyaruzi had told the 'Sunday News' that the system can be easily manipulated by the thieves, since they can easily dismantle and install their own devices to launch a theft.
"It's high time that the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) should carry out the banks auditing to establish its vulnerability to control the problem.