Ram raiders tried to drag a cash machine out of a supermarket using a 4x4, an eyewitness has said.
The BMW X5 smashed into the Co-op in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, just before 23:00 GMT on Monday.
Three balaclava-clad suspects, armed with baseball bats and a metal pole, entered the shop and attempted to remove the free-standing ATM inside, police said.
The gang, which made off in a different car, fled the scene empty-handed.
Paul Bowie, who lives near Battle Road, said: "I'd just gone to bed when my wife and I heard strange noises, like something heavy being dragged, over and over again, 10 to 15 times.
"We looked outside and saw the BMW X5 and the smashed front of the shop."
"A person in the road shouted to the driver of the X5, then they both ran to a white Mercedes E class estate, driven by a third person.
"The driver floored it, the car went speeding up Battle Road, heading north."
The shop was due to close when the raiders struck, and at least two members of staff were inside.
Mr Bowie said it looked as though the BMW had been driven into the front of the shop, then turned around and backed up to the window.
He added: "There was a huge, heavy duty strap around the ATM machine and attached to the car, which had the back seats removed.
"The car had been screeching where they had tried to pull the machine out, but whoever bolted it down did a good job, because it didn't budge."
Southern Co-op said support was being provided to the store and it was working to repair damage as quickly as possible.