WITH cloths and hoodies to cover their faces and a long-barrelled rifle for intimidation, two brazen crooks storm a popular Coalfields pub as about 30 drinkers sip on their schooners.
But it is not until the gunman fires a shot into the ceiling that patrons of the Caledonia Hotel at Aberdare even notice who has turned up in the front bar on Tuesday evening.
Security footage shows patrons dropping to the floor as told, with their barman following suit until the bandits order him back to his feet and towards cash registers and a safe.
"They came in and asked everyone to get on the ground, but no one really responded," publican Ian Negline said yesterday.
"So they put a shot in the air and everyone then obviously complied."
Central Hunter detectives questioned the motives of the bandits, believed to be Pacific Islanders, who decided to target the Aberdare Road hotel at 6.30pm when it was bulging with drinkers.
Most armed robbers choose a quieter time, such as just before opening or closing.
Walking in when about 30 Coalfields blokes were enjoying a schooner had many possible outcomes.
Firing the gun also increased the stakes for the pair, who face aggravated armed robbery charges.
Patrons told police the bandits seemed very confident and calm during the lightning raid, causing investigators to theorise they were experienced and possibly not locals.
They are believed to have escaped in a car parked nearby.
The first man is described as in his 20s, 183-188 centimetres tall, of athletic build with tanned skin and wearing a black hooded jumper with black cloth covering his face.
His accomplice is described as in his early 20s, 168-173 centimetres tall, of a smaller build, with tanned skin and wearing a black hooded jumper with black cloth covering his face.
Both were said to have New Zealand accents.
Information can be forwarded to Central Hunter detectives on 4934 0200 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.