Tunnel leading to bank from wooded area discovered near Miami, FBI says

The entrance to the 50-yard tunnel was covered by a wood pallet.

Authorities in Florida have found a 50-yard tunnel leading from a wooded area straight to the drive-up teller of a bank, the FBI announced Wednesday.

Investigators believe the tunnel was dug with the intention of robbing the Chase bank at the Flamingo Pines shopping center in Pembroke Pines, about 22 miles northwest of Miami, FBI Miami Special Agent Michael Leverock told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.

"They were heading toward the bank, and that's for sure," he said, adding that whoever dug the hole did not get in.

Pembroke Pines Public Works was called to the scene Tuesday around 9:30 p.m. after receiving reports of a possible sinkhole, Leverock said. When the workers got there, they saw a power cord running toward a wooded area, and called the Pembroke Pines Police Department, Leverock said.

When police officers arrived, they noticed what looked like an entrance to a tunnel, Leverock said, describing it as "an extensive hole." The officers decided to wait until morning for daylight to investigate further.

The tunnel is approximately 2 to 3 feet in diameter, Leverock said, describing it as "very claustrophobic." The entrance to the tunnel was covered by a wooden pallet, ABC Miami affiliate WPLG reported.

Other items found at the scene included a winch, a small generator and a wagon, Leverock said. Cadaver dogs were brought to the scene to look for any bodies that may have been in the tunnel, but none were found.

Investigators are continuing to dig to determine whether the tunnel extends further, he said, adding that they "haven't necessarily hit the end of it."

Rain over the weekend may have caused the ground to sink to the hollow space below, Leverock said.

No suspects have been identified, but investigators believe more than one person was involved, Leverock said. The suspects used pickaxes and the small wagon to dig, and they appeared to use the winch that was found to pull the wagon, he added.

It is unclear when the last time was that someone entered the tunnel, Leverock said.