From the archives: This story was last updated in March 2019.
Money doesn’t grow on trees; we know that much. But apparently, it makes excellent food for Tinsukia’s hungry rodents. Bank technicians from the town in the northeastern state of Assam were called to the scene to investigate a dysfunctional State Bank of India (SBI) cash machine, and got far more than they’d bargained for upon opening it up.
Inside the ATM, they made one nasty discovery and one shocking revelation. The discovery was one thoroughly dead rat, which had somehow escaped the gaze of the machine’s inbuilt security camera. The revelation? That the furry intruder had happily munched its way through almost $18,000 worth of Indian rupee notes before taking its last—we expect rather satisfied—breath.
The bank’s branch manager, Chandan Sharma, told Reuters: “The ATM was out of order for a few days and when our technicians opened the kiosk we were shocked to find shredded notes and a dead rat. We have started an investigation into this rare incident,” Sharma continued, “and will take measures to prevent a recurrence.”
Can the residents of Tinsukia expect to see their ATMs adorned with rat traps in the future? We certainly wonder what rodent-proofing a cash machine will look like.
There’s no doubt that the outraged residents and bank officials are wishing the ATM’s inbuilt camera had caught the opportunistic escapades of the trespassing rat. Most ATMs in India have a closed-circuit camera installed in the machine, with security in mind.
As India’s largest bank, SBI has over 50,000 ATMs across the country, but it’s the first time one of their machines has been breached in such spectacular fashion.
The dysfunctional ATM in the town of Tinsukia was thoroughly examined, Sharma reported, and its camera footage inspected, but no evidence of the rat’s entry could be found.
The machine had been stocked with 2.9 million rupees (approx. US$42,685) before the rodent raid, but the hungry critter’s appetite had its limits: bank notes totaling 1.2 million rupees (approx. US $17,662) were shredded, but 1.7 million rupees (approx. US$25,022) were recovered, unscathed.
Perhaps the intact, perfectly usable bank notes could act as witness for the prosecution?
A local reporter took photographs of the breached ATM, showing a pile of shredded 500- and 2000-rupee notes: a litter of gray and purple detritus.
One very expensive nest indeed.
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