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NASHIK: In a novel idea to curb robberies and thefts near banks, the Nashik police have offered to escort people carrying large amounts of cash from or to the banks. Police officers said that they have anyway stepped up security around national and private banks from Monday, following a spate of robberies in different parts of the city last week. A customer planning to withdraw a large amount of cash can contact the bank branch manager, who in turn will inform the police station concerned, following which a police escort will be provided to the customer. “Bank officials have also been informed that they can call the police to escort people carrying huge cash,” assistant commissioner of police (zone I) Ravindra Wadekar told TOI. Last week, three people were robbed of over Rs 9 lakh in the span of five days, minutes after they stepped out of a bank after withdrawing the money. “We have deployed personnel around important banks in the city and their strength is as per the rush of customers,” Wadekar said. Senior police officials said they held meetings with bank officials, in residential societies and peace committee members to spread awareness. The police are also trying to trace wanted criminals, besides spreading public awareness regarding precautions that need to be taken while carrying cash, withdrawing money from ATMs, etc. A senior citizen from Nashik Road said that no one would want the police to escort them and would rather prefer taking the necessary precautions, which is what the cops are expecting from their current drive. On August 25, a man was robbed of Rs 3 lakh near NMC’s Rajeev Gandhi Bhavan around 11 am. Two days later, a couple was robbed of Rs 3.08 lakh near the Boys Town High School around 11.30 am and on August 28, a person was robbed of Rs 3 lakh near the Khadkali signal around 2.30 pm. In all the three cases, the victims had withdrawn cash from banks and were apparently watched by criminals before robbing them on their way. A few robberies using the same modus operandi took place in July. The crime branch has distributed about 20,000 posters and 40,000 handbills regarding precautionary measures among the 11 police stations.

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