Thieves hit bowls club
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.