Cobram police are investigating a failed ATM ram-raid in Numurkah early yesterday morning which caused a fast-moving grass fire.
Members of Cobram Criminal Investigation Unit were kept busy yesterday after a stolen vehicle was used to steal an ATM machine from a Caltex Service Station on Goulburn Valley Hwy in Numurkah.
Police were called to the scene about 1.40am after reports were received that a white utility had rammed the front windows of the service station.
CCTV footage gathered from the service station showed four offenders who were unable to lift the ATM machine into the back of the ute.
Police confirmed the offenders then tied the ATM to the back of the ute and dragged it away from the scene; it was later located about 1km north of the service station.
A police spokesperson said the ATM being dragged along the road caused sparks which then started a grass fire about 1km from the scene.
Country Fire Authority District 22 commander Travis Harris said the call for the fire came through about 2.15am yesterday.
Mr Harris said 15 CFA units attended the fire which covered between 2.5 and 3ha of a crop field along with impacting the roadside along Goulburn Valley Hwy.
“The reasonably high winds last night increased the fire behavior and resulted in a reasonably fast-moving grass fire,” he said.
Mr Harris confirmed it took CFA crews almost an hour to bring the fire under control, which he admitted was a positive outcome given the dangerous conditions.
“We were very lucky the wind was actually in our favour, it was very close to the edge of the township ... it was extremely lucky the wind was favourable and blowing the fire away from the town as opposed to into the town which unfortunately could have been a very different story.”
Police confirmed the vehicle used in the ram raid was stolen from Kyabram on Monday evening and was later found burnt out on Moira Lakes Rd in Barmah.
As police investigators worked at the scene yesterday morning, all north-bound lanes of Goulburn Valley Hwy were closed between Walshs Bridge Rd and Katamatite-Nathalia Rd.
Police are investigating the theft and urge any witnesses or anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Alternatively a confidential report can be made online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au