A Melbourne baker was chased by men carrying hammers and a meat cleaver during a terrifying robbery in the city's north-west.
With his workplace invaded by armed criminals, the baker, who had been working alone had to make a quick exit.
Adrenaline fuelled by pure fear gave him a head start on the gang, which had smashed through the front doors before chasing him.
"He's done very well just to avoid any conflict, get away and avoid any harm to himself," Detective Senior Constable Matthew Le said.
Around 1.30am on Monday morning a gang of five pulled up outside the Keilor Village shopping strip in a small red hatchback.
They smashed the glass doors of the bakery in, seeking cash.
The terrified baker had been working alone and desperately tried to find help, but at that time of the morning there was no-one around.
Despite the damage caused, the thieves ran away empty handed - the cash boxes they took were empty.
Police believe at least two of the thugs are of African background and one is Caucasian.
Local traders say the break-in is part of a crime wave underway in the shopping strip.
"It's a big issue," a local trader said.
"In the last year we've had a lot of break-ins, most of the shops once or twice in the last 12 months."
As the gang ran from the bakery, one of the crooks lashed out at the window of another business nearby.
He was then nearly left behind during the getaway.