The peace of the leafy Chip Bee Gardens estate was shattered yesterday afternoon, as police officers combed the area looking for clues to a robbery that took place across the road in Holland Village.
Their quarry is believed to be a Caucasian man wearing a grey hoodie and mustard trousers, said one resident in the area. The police had visited his home bearing a picture of the suspect.
Earlier in the day, the suspect allegedly robbed the Standard Chartered Bank branch in Holland Village, making off with about $30,000 in cash. No one was injured in the incident, but the suspect is still at large.
The Straits Times understands the suspect was not seen with a weapon.
Resident Joshua Tan, 26, said his mother saw the police making their rounds in the neighbourhood.
The officers approached her with a picture of the suspect at about 2pm, he said.
"They asked her if she had seen the man and warned her about what happened," said Mr Tan, an engineer, adding that this was the first time something like this had happened in the estate.
"It's pretty peaceful here, nothing much going on - a lot of Caucasians live in the area," he said.
The Chip Bee Gardens estate is filled with low-rise terraced houses - many houses had their gates and doors open when The Straits Times was there yesterday afternoon.
Police officers were also seen combing the area, checking dustbins for any evidence that the suspect may have left behind.
The Straits Times saw police officers both on foot and in police cars patrolling the area several times.
Police officers also scoped out the nearby Housing Board estate in Holland Close.
Domestic worker Marnie Acosta said she saw police cars drive by her home in Jalan Hitam Manis several times, even stopping to take pictures.
It's pretty peaceful here, nothing much going on - a lot of Caucasians live in the area.
RESIDENT JOSHUA TAN
This is scary, I've lived here for seven years and this is the first time something like this has happened.
DOMESTIC WORKER MARNIE ACOSTA
"This is scary, I've lived here for seven years and this is the first time something like this has happened," said Ms Acosta, 45.
At the crime scene, bystanders were shocked when teams of police officers descended on the area.
More than 10 police vehicles had lined the road along Holland Avenue after noon, with officers in bulletproof vests and riot shields deployed at one point.
"We were coming back from brunch when we saw this place filled with police personnel," said Madam Belinda Choo, 43, a housewife.
A police cordon was set up and the affected bank branch was closed for the day.
The mood was tense in the area, with crowds of onlookers.
The cordon was lifted only after 5pm.
Madam Michelle Tan, who works at a spa outlet near the bank, said there was no alarm or commotion before the police arrived.
"When I came, all I heard was that someone had stolen money and then run away," said Madam Tan, 45.