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Hapless robbers target biker meeting

  • Story Highlights
  • Two masked, machete-wielding robbers burst into club and empty cash registers
  • 50 bikers meeting in adjacent room hear commotion and intervene
  • One would-be robber ends up hogtied; the other in hospital
  • Police arrest men and charge both with attempted armed robbery
  • Next Article in World »
By CNN's Saeed Ahmed
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(CNN) -- Two masked and machete-wielding men who barged into a club in Sydney, Australia, couldn't have picked a worse night for their robbery -- a monthly meeting of bikers.

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The robbers chose the wrong night to burst into the club where the Southern Cross Cruiser Club have their monthly meeting.

About 50 burly bikers fought back with tables and chairs -- pretty much anything that wasn't bolted down. One would-be robber was tied up; the other in the hospital.

Police arrested both.

"These guys were absolutely dumb as bricks," Jerry Vancornewal, leader of the bikers, told CNN Thursday. "I can't believe they saw all the bikes parked up front and they were so stupid that they walked past in."

Vancornewal and his buddies were at the Regents Park Sporting and Community Club in Sydney when the two men wearing ski masks stormed in Wednesday night. They yelled at patrons to drop to the floor as they emptied cash registers at the bar.

Hearing the commotion from an adjacent room, Vancornewal and his pals with the Southern Cross Cruiser motorcycle club stomped through to the bar area to intervene.

"They (the robbers) thought they had the upper advantage with their knives and their machetes," Jim Webb, night supervisor of the club, told CNN. "They didn't expect to run into a bunch of guys carrying chairs and tables."

One of the would-be robbers crashed through a plate-glass door and jumped off a balcony.

"All he had to do was push the button and it automatically opened," Webb quipped.

New South Wales police said they arrested the 20-year-old man a short distance away.

The second man made a break for it through the club's service entrance, but the bikers tackled him near a neighbor's fence.

"We just grabbed him, crash-tackled him to the ground, hogtied him with electrical wire and left him for the cops," Vancornewal said.

Police confirmed in a statement that club patrons subdued the second man until officers arrived, but did not provide additional details. The suspect turned out to be a 16-year-old boy.

Both would-be robbers were charged with attempted armed robbery and "face disguised with intent to commit indictable offense," police said.

A third person, who was waiting in a getaway car, took off when the bikers threw pieces of furniture at him, Webb said. Police have not located him.

The Regents Park Sporting and Community Club is a place where locals come to enjoy drinks and take part in various games: cricket, soccer, lawn bowling. The biking enthusiasts meet there once a month to plan rides and other club activities.

In the last year or so, criminals have struck the club about 10 times, Webb said. And Wednesday night's incident, while unusual, wasn't the most memorable.

"We have these old bingo players and they are really serious about their games," Webb explained. "They do not like to be interrupted."

When robbers barged in one evening and announced that they were holding up the place, the players turned around and testily told them to be quiet.

"They were making it difficult for the players to hear the numbers being called," Webb said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Sydney (Australia)

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