Around three o'clock this morning residents in a unit block on Boundary Road at Mortdale woke to a loud banging noise.
Three men wearing balaclavas had driven a Suburu station wagon through security shutters and glass doors of a service station across the road.
They used the car to knock an ATM over and dragged it into a waiting van.
Residents began phoning police - the men fled the scene in a white Nissan GTR being driven by a fourth man.
Police believe the men became spooked after taking too long to retrieve the machine and after seeing residents watching them.