Police close in on Mumbai airport thieves

FOUR masked gunmen stormed the Air India cargo terminal at Mumbai Airport last month and made off with gold and silver coins worth R3.5 million (US$74,500) and killing a guard who tried to stop them.

Airport police suspect that it was an inside job due to the robbers knowing the precise time that the coins would be being screened.

Somnath Ghuge, senior inspector of the airport police station said that lax security was also to blame. “The easy manner in which the robbers reached the Air India cargo complex…clearly points to security lapses,” he said.

Making their getaway, the robbers drove into the security guard who later died from his injuries.

The airport police have held a meeting with both Air India and Jet Airways, which share the same cargo compound, to review security.

“The gate that leads to the Air India cargo building at least has a system in place to screen vehicles entering the compound. But there is no security at the other gate,” he said. The airlines have been told to increase security and install cameras at the gates.

“We have a security department headed by a senior Indian Police Service officer,” said an Air India spokesperson. “We will review the security setup at our cargo building,” he said.

Police believe they have discovered the identities of the four but have yet to catch them.

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