Jackfruit sap used to rob Philippine banks, police say

MANILA (AFP) - Philippine thieves have been using low-tech sticky tree sap to rob high-tech cash dispenser machines in banks, police said Tuesday.

Jackfruit sap is daubed on a metal bar that thieves insert into the card slot of automated teller machines, said a suburban Manila police spokesman Inspector Edwin Malabanan.

Whenever a person tried to withdraw cash, the bills would stick onto the bar inside the machine, which thieves would retrieve once the the disappointed customer had left.

"The sap is really sticky. It was really clever of them to think of it," Malabanan told AFP.

Customers of several banks complaining of losses prompted the police to look into the matter and one of two thieves was arrested last week thanks to closed circuit TV footage of a bank ATM, he said.

Police do not know how many other thieves have used this method, he added.

Malabanan said police charged the suspect under a law punishing tampering of electronic devices for theft, but it was thrown out since he had used a non-electronic tool.

The suspect will now be charged with simple theft which carries a lesser penalty of up to six years in prison instead of up to 20 years in jail under the electronic devices law.