Cash reward to catch thief
THE owner of the Horizon Cafe at Ballina Airport has offered a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the "low lifes" who broke into the First Point Cash Machine at the airport some time after midnight yesterday.
Cafe owner Harry Aristou supplied the money that was dispensed from the machine.
"I lost a substantial amount of money so I am happy to offer another $500 to see these low lifes arrested and jailed," he said.
"I feel really angry. That was my money, I worked hard for and it wasn't insured, so it's just gone for good.
"It was lucky that I didn't fill the machine otherwise I would have lost a whole lot more.
"This means I will now leave much less cash in the machine every night which may inconvenience passengers arriving late from Sydney who look to get out some money for a taxi."
Mr Aristou said the thieves broke into the building just after midnight and used a grinder, a large pry bar and a smaller crow bar to rip the front out of the ATM.
"They cut through the front of the machine, then the inner security door and removed the cassettes containing the money," he said.
"They then took them into the toilet and broke these open to get the cash."
Metal filings and a blue liquid were left scattered on the ground around the machine.
Ballina Byron Gateway Airport manager Neil Weatherson said the last employee left the building at 9pm on Wednesday.
"A REX employee alerted police when he arrived for work at 5am this morning," he said yesterday.
"It was very disappointing to have this happen at Christmas and that passengers will be inconvenienced with no cash machine being available.
"But we are grateful it was not life threatening situation, the machine can be replaced."
Detective Sergeant Matt Kehoe said police were still reviewing the CCTV footage and forensically examining tools left at the scene.
"It appears that the thieves were on the scene for a significant amount of time," he said.
"Anyone with information regarding the break in should call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 or Ballina Police on 6681 8699."