Thieves have carried out a daring ram-raid on a bank in Sydney’s CBD, driving a stolen Porsche four-wheel-drive into the front of a Westpac branch.
Stunned witnesses said the robbery occurred on Kent Street about 11.15am, and the vehicle’s impact caused the building to shake and the wall to partially collapse.
Two masked men, armed with sledgehammers, were seen running out of the building carrying bags and hopping into a stolen blue Subaru WRX getaway vehicle, where a driver was waiting.
The entire robbery took less than five minutes, with bystanders capturing photographs of the bandits while the robbery was in progress.
An officer worker, who asked not to be named, said he was walking down Erskine Street when he heard a loud bang.
‘‘At first we thought it was coming from some building works,’’ he said.
‘‘Then [we] looked back and saw the Porsche drive into the wall and people in masks get out and run into the bank. It looked to me like they were equipped with sledgehammers.’’
The office worker called triple-0.
He said the Subaru was parked behind the Porsche, and the getaway driver was ‘‘clearly getting nervous waiting for the others to come out, especially as a number of people were photographing him’’.
‘‘He started shouting to the others to hurry up. After a few minutes the others came out and the Subaru sped off, turning down Napoleon Street. I didn’t think they got away with much, if anything,’’ he said.
The vehicle that rammed into the bank appeared to be a Porsche Cayenne.
Police said the men entered the bank through the opening and took money from the tellers.
Acting Superintendent David Roptell, commander of The Rocks local area command, said a number of bank staff members were shaken up and had been treated by paramedics.
“It’s a brazen attempt as you can see. The offenders and their faces were obscured,” he said.
“We’re appealing for witneses that were in the area that may have seen this incident [to contact police].”
He said it was unclear at this stage how much cash the thieves took from the tellers.
Lars was walking down Kent Street on his way to a job interview when the Porsche crashed into the bank five metres behind him.
‘‘There was a massive thud, a crash,’’ said Lars, who did not want his surname used.
‘‘They didn’t get through the glass the first time. They reversed out and went straight back in.
‘‘Two men ran out of the four-wheel-drive and ran inside [the bank], and a blue WRX hatchback was waiting out the front. Probably about a minute later you could start hearing police sirens, and that’s when the driver of the second car started beeping his horn. He held down the horn when they started getting closer.’’
He estimated the whole robbery took only a couple of minutes.
Lars said the men were quite large – at least 180 centimetres tall – and were wearing white cloths or bandanas over their faces.
Lars said he knew immediately that the men were targeting the bank, and he ran behind a concrete pillar in case they were carrying weapons.
But other bystanders began approaching the vehicle.
‘‘People were walking up to it because they thought it was an accident,’’ he said.
Matthew, who works in the building opposite the bank, said the four-wheel-drive crashed through the bank’s front window, where it remained with its hazard lights on.
“They entered the building and came out … with some bags and escaped in a second vehicle,’’ he said.
‘‘There is an ATM right next to where they rammed, and it has a little bit of damage, but it looks like they were trying to enter the bank.’’
He said people in his building heard a loud bang when the vehicle crashed into the window.
There were quite a few people in the street at the time, he said.
A Westpac spokesman confirmed there was an ‘‘attempted robbery’’ on the Kent Street bank.
‘‘No physical injuries to staff or customers have been reported at this time,’’ he said.
‘‘Our priority is our customers and our employee’s safety and we are currently providing support to them at this time.
A number of customers were believed to be in the branch at the time.

Stop and Frisk Unconstitutional in the States

In the US, the Fourth Ammendment provides:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized
Before you ask, we don’t have something like that here. 
A US federal judge has upended a cornerstone of New York policing, declaring the city’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy a violation of the US constitution that unfairly targeted blacks and Hispanics.
In a 198-page ruling, Judge Shira Scheindlin said on Monday police randomly stopping individuals on the street and subjecting them to searches violates the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
It also runs afoul of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law, said Scheindlin, who stressed how young black and Hispanic males were most likely to be targeted.
“The evidence at trial revealed that the New York Police Department (NYPD) has an unwritten policy of targeting ‘the right people’ for stops,” the judge said.
“In practice, the policy encourages the targeting of young black and Hispanic men based on their prevalence in local crime complaints. This is a form of racial profiling.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says his administration will appeal the ruling, telling reporters that stop-and-search was a “vital deterrent” that had taken 8,000 guns off the street over a decade.
“There is no question that stop, question and frisk has saved countless lives,” he said.
Scheindlin, a US District Court judge, refrained from ordering a total halt to stop-and-frisk.
But in a move unprecedented in New York police history, she ordered the appointment of an independent monitor to ensure that such searches are carried out “in accordance with the Constitution”.
Bloomberg bristled at that idea, saying it was tantamount to putting the NYPD and its nearly 35,000 uniformed personnel “into receivership”.
Stop-and-frisk has been a centrepiece of New York’s efforts to bring criminality to heel after the drug-fuelled violence of the 1980s and early 1990s.
Of the 4.4 million cases between January 2004 and January 2012 in which New York police briefly detained individuals on suspicion of criminal involvement, 52 per cent involved blacks and 31 per cent Hispanics. Only 10 per cent involved whites.
“The city and its highest officials believe that blacks and Hispanics should be stopped at the same rate as their proportion of the local criminal suspect population,” Scheindlin said.
“But this reasoning is flawed because the stopped population is overwhelmingly innocent – not criminal.”
Full Story here.

Justice James Wood to Review Terence Leary Parole

Former NSW Supreme Court judge James Wood will lead a review into the decision to release convicted murderer Terrence John Leary on parole.

Leary, who was convicted of murdering a Sydney teenager in 1990 and released on parole last August, allegedly attacked a 30-year-old woman waiting at a bus stop in the Sydney suburb of Hunters Hill on Wednesday. Leary has been charged with attempted rape and murder over the attack in which his victim was allegedly punched and stabbed.

In announcing the review, NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith said Mr Wood would only look at the Leary case, not the entire parole system.

Leary served 22-and-a-half years of a 24-year sentence for the 1990 murder and was released with strict conditions. He had been refused parole on six previous occasions between 2005 and 2010 before his release.  

Full story here.

Rain Brings out Shoppers?

The spate of rain is bring people out to the shops…

Police have arrested a man south of Sydney following an early morning crime spree.

It is alleged four men used trolleys to ram through security glass at a shopping centre in Warrawong around 5:30 yesterday morning.

Shortly afterwards, one man, allegedly armed with a baseball bat, demanded money from a nearby newsagent before swinging the bat through the store.  

Full story here.