Crime

FBI finds something ‘unique’ while investigating a tunnel leading to a Chase bank

In what sounds like the plot from a bank heist movie, Pembroke Pines police said Wednesday that they found a tunnel that leads to a Chase bank at the Flamingo Pines shopping center.

The hole doesn’t appear to be a garden-variety sinkhole, but rather the work of someone who may have been burrowing a tunnel to get into the bank.

What police and the FBI found at the hole at Flamingo Road and Pines Boulevard was “unique,” said Miami FBI spokesman Michael Leverock.

At the tunnel site, the FBI found a generator, a wench and a wagon above ground near the woods line, which indicates they someone was using some sort of rope in the tunnel — hence, the wench to pull the rope, Leverock explained. A wooden palette covered the tunnel’s entrance.

Crews used heavy equipment to tear up a two lane road that leads to the shopping plaza after Pembroke Pines Public Works was called out Tuesday night after someone called in a pothole.

After public works saw in the hole an orange extension cord — the simple kind you might pick up at a grocery or hardware store — they alerted Pembroke Pines police who, in turn, called out the FBI because of the hole’s proximity to the Chase bank.

“I’ve only seen something like this in the movies — and I’m not even sure I’ve seen this because it’s so small,” Leverock said.

How small?

Leverock said the tunnel was two- to three-feet in diameter and about 50 yards in length.

“You would have to be really small to get in there and it would be very claustrophobic,” Leverock said. “There’s no way anybody could sit up in there, that’s how small it was.”

But whoever dug through the wooded area to get to the bank took some time. “They could have been doing this for a month. This was not an overnight thing,” Leverock said.

The FBI tapped the Palm Beach County Sherrif’s Office’s K9 unit to send a dog into portions of the tunnel to make sure no one was inside and no one was found..

The bank was not breached and no money was stolen, the FBI said.

The FBI’s investigation is ongoing and expected to last into the evening. Chase has not yet released a statement.

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