There’s something to be said for simple solutions. When two men in the regional Victorian town of Tongala decided that they wanted to rob a bank, they didn’t bother to hack the security system or crack the alarm code. They didn’t cook up some convoluted plan to phish customers’ savings accounts and withdraw a negligible enough amount that nobody would ever notice. These thieves went back to basics. They jumped behind the wheel of an excavator, drove up to the shopfront of the local Bendigo Bank branch, and literally ripped the wall down.
Police have released CCTV footage of the brazen bank heist, which took place just after 3 AM on Wednesday morning. You can watch the excavator—itself believed to be stolen—rolling down the footpath of Mangan Street, Tongala, and coming to a halt outside the Bendigo Bank. Within seconds, the arm of the demolition vehicle arches back and promptly smashes its way through the glass shopfront, tearing out the window frame and even scooping out some of the debris so that the thieves can rush in and grab their loot.
The men stole a number of cash boxes of unknown value before activating the alarm and fleeing, according to a report by Victoria Police. They were also described as having caused “significant damage to both the building and an ATM.”
"Seeing the excavator I thought: 'Oh my gosh, did they get through the whole building?'” Tongala newsagent Diana Haw told the ABC. “It's an absolute mess.”
Diana reckons no one heard the midnight demolition of the local bank taking place—not even the baker, who was in his shop just across the road at the time—but multiple townsfolk have told her that they’d like to give the robbers “a good hiding.”
"What [the offenders] are going to do with that money I don't know, but it doesn't solve what they're going to use it for,” she said. “If it's for drugs or something—you're not going to have that money for long.”
Police believe that the excavator, along with a truck that was located behind the bank, were stolen from an address in nearby Shepparton at about 1:15 AM.