A THIEF has taken his own angle grinder to swipe a cash drawer from a shop opposite the Tallangatta police station.
The bandit also stole expensive cigarettes as part of a raid at the Alpine takeaway and fuel outlet which netted him $6000 in currency and goods.
The break-in occurred at 2.30am Saturday at the business which is owned by husband and wife Praveen and Chinna Uppu .
"It's very bad and we are scared," Mr Uppu said.
"The people are good here and everyone talks to us very nice but when things like this happen we're scared.
"We moved from Melbourne, when we bought the business six months ago and we work 13 to 14 hours a day."
The couple's pay packets and mobile phone were stolen in addition to the money and cigarettes.
The thief's activity at the Shell service station, on the corner of Towong Street and Akuna Avenue, were caught on security cameras.
The thief walks across the petrol station's forecourt and then kicks in a door with his right foot.
That entrance takes him into the kitchen and then, after setting off an alarm, he walks through it to another doorway to emerge behind the counter of the shop.
Here he opens up a wall-mounted cabinet and pulls out trays of cigarettes and stashes a number of Winfield and Peter Jackson packets into a backpack he brought with him.
Then, while wearing a headband with a light, he turns his attention to a cash drawer beneath the counter.
He goes to pull it out before realising it cannot be dislodged.
The thief then picks up an angle grinder and amid bursts of sparks he snaps off the drawer.
After putting on his backpack, he retraces his path through the kitchen.
The cameras last capture him striding away towards Akuna Avenue with the till under his right arm.
Mr Uppu arrived at the shop just before Saturday's 8am opening time to find the door used by the thief wide open.
He called the police who are now investigating.
Wodonga Detective Acting Sergeant Matt Prestage said the theft clearly involved planning.
"It's definitely targetted, the person has gone well prepared with an angle grinder," he said.
"The theft is significant, given the value of cigarettes, so we would be seeking information from those in and around the area if they've seen a vehicle or bike (used by the thief)."
Sergeant Prestage said it seemed the man had dreadlocks, which may form a wig.
He could not say whether the thief was an outsider or a local.
Mr Uppu suspects the thief may have scouted the premises in the days before the break-in which has left his wife fearful.
"I'm very scared," Mrs Uppu said.
"In the night the face of the guy is coming into my dream."
Anybody with information, including offers of cheap cigarettes, should phone Wodonga detectives on (02) 6049 2600 or 1800 333 000.