Thieves hit bowls club

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page - By Monique Freer

Two bal­a­clava-wear­ing thieves made off with thou­sands of dol­lars of cash last week af­ter break­ing into Be­nalla Bowls Club.

The male of­fend­ers al­legedly forced en­try to the Arun­del St club be­tween 3.30 am and 4 am on Thurs­day through the smok­ers’ door.

Wear­ing gloves and bal­a­clavas the duo at­tempted to force open a gam­ing ma­chine with­out suc­cess, dur­ing which time they ac­ti­vated an au­di­ble alarm.

Be­nalla Bowls Club chief ex­ec­u­tive Julie Dosser said she ar­rived at the club shortly af­ter 4.15 am af­ter the se­cu­rity com­pany re­sponded to the alarm.

‘‘I felt an­noyed and a bit sick to the stomach I sup­pose to think that people would want to come into the bowls club and do that,’’ Ms Dosser said.

‘‘I just think that they’re prob­a­bly people that are des­per­ate for money.

‘‘These guys were in the build­ing for un­der two min­utes and did all this, so they knew what they were do­ing.

‘‘It just makes you be­come more se­cu­rity con­scious. We’re now putting in more locks and look­ing at up­dat­ing our se­cu­rity sys­tem a lit­tle bit bet­ter to try and re­duce the risk of be­ing tar­gets.’’

Be­nalla Po­lice Crime In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit Act­ing De­tec­tive Sergeant Shan- non Mur­phy said once the alarm was ac­ti­vated the pair ran to the club’s strong room and stole sev­eral thou­sand dol­lars in notes and coins.

They then fled the scene in a sil­ver sedan to­wards Shep­par­ton.

While the pair was only in the build­ing for about two min­utes, Det Sgt Mur­phy said se­cu­rity footage showed them in the car park area for about 20 min­utes prior.

‘‘The tools they used to force en­try were left be­hind and it is ex­pected that foren­sic ex­am­i­na­tion of those will as­sist in as­cer­tain­ing the iden­tity of these of­fend­ers,’’ Det Sgt Mur­phy said.

‘‘Additional foren­sic ev­i­dence has been ob­tained from the scene.’’

Ms Dosser said the break-in had caused hun­dreds of dol­lars’ dam­age to the fa­cil­ity, in­clud­ing a bro­ken glass door and dam­age to a gam­ing ma­chine.

The club chief ex­ec­u­tive said the money stolen in­cluded a large amount of gold coins, and en­cour­aged the com­mu­nity to take no­tice of any­one us­ing coins to make pur­chases.

Det Sgt Mur­phy said one of the men was per­ceived as be­ing of large build and about 175 cm to 180 cm tall; the sec­ond man was per­ceived to be of solid build and about 180 cm to 185 cm tall.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion is urged to con­tact Crime Stop­pers on 1800 333 000.

In ac­tion: Two male of­fend­ers stole thou­sands of dol­lars from Be­nalla Bowls Club on Thurs­day.

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