A service station near Ballarat was left with gaping holes in the front and rear walls after thieves used a bobcat to steal an automatic teller machine in a daring ram-raid early Sunday morning.
The stolen bobcat was rammed through the front of the Caltex Service Station on the Glenelg Highway about 3.15am and driven through the Smythesdale store.
After gaining entry and loading the ATM in to another vehicle, thieves abandoned the bobcat inside the service station and fled.
A trail of destruction and scattered debris was strewn throughout the store in the wake of the early-morning raid, with the back and front walls of the store sporting gaping holes.
One witness, who lives nearby, was woken by the sound of the bobcat crashing through the back of the shop.
“I heard smashing and scraping and then the sound of wheels spinning. I thought it was kids doing burnouts but I went out and saw the damage,” the man said..
“One car headed towards Ballarat and two were following 30 seconds later.”
The damage to the service station over the busy Christmas-New Year travel period means there is nowhere for travellers to refuel after leaving Ballarat until they reach Skipton, almost 50km away.
Any witnesses or anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report online.