HE had the tools, the patience, the plot and the reward – a safe full of weekend takings ripe for the picking.
But unfortunately for this bungling thief, who spent more than two hours cutting and crashing his way through a double-bricked wall at Charlestown Golf Club, what he may have possessed in the planning department he lacked in nous.
Lake Macquarie police are investigating why the lone crook decided against hauling the safe through the hole he had painstakingly created, instead tripping the alarm system by pulling it through an internal and external door and to his car.
The decision resulted in him coming up empty-handed, with security arriving just as he was tying up the safe and putting it onto a trailer he had stolen earlier in the night.
His escape pulled the old steel safe along the club’s access road, but for only about 100metres before it broke off and rolled away.
‘‘That is what happens all the time here, they get nothing but they make a hell of a mess doing it,’’ a frustrated club manager Jane Boyle said on Monday.
Ms Boyle was in the news last Friday after again publicly showing her club’s frustration when a group of hoons caused tens of thousands of dollars damage driving over six of the popular course’s greens.
She woke on Monday morning to more damage.
Security footage clearly shows the thief’s patience and intent. He first crashed through the club’s locked gate before 3am, surveying the area before leaving for 10 minutes and returning with a trailer stolen from nearby.
It appears he knew where to start his work, taking the time to remove a 315-litre hot water cistern before grabbing an angle-grinder and cutting through the first layer of bricks.
The footage shows clouds of dust as he begins to cut a squarish hole in the wall and then uses an object, possibly a large axe found at the scene or possibly a sledgehammer, to crash through the second layer.
The hole led him straight to a storage room where the safe was housed, and was also safe from any alarm sensors.
‘‘The only people who go in there are employees, couriers and tradies – I have had a guy work here for years who told me this morning he had never even noticed the safe,’’ Ms Boyle said.
‘‘It is all a bit strange.’’
By 5.10am the thief has got the safe moving, but decides to use an interior door, and then walk out a door back to his car, to drag his prize out.
That trips the alarm and soon the security are on their way.
As the guard arrives, probably spooked by the car and possibly incensed after all his pre-dawn work, the thief jumps into his white utility and drives off with the safe being hauled behind.
The safe, discovered just off the access road, also has some signs that could give the thief a headache.
The years on the frequently washed floors had eaten away at the bottom of the safe – fingers could have been poked through the rust to the inside.
The last ironic twist for the bungling safe thief was that by the time he had finally left empty-handed, it was only just over an hour before the first members of the Hunter police social golf club started arriving for a big event.
Information should be forwarded to Lake Macquarie police or Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.