Bank robbers typically walk in through the front door, armed with guns or holding stickup notes. But early Friday, a burglar tried another way into a Woodley Park bank: by breaking a hole in the wall.

Well before dawn, using a shuttered cafe and deli as cover, the person broke through the wall between the place where sandwiches were once kept and where money is still kept, District police said.

Surveillance cameras, which authorities said may have caught the intrusion at the Bank of America branch in the 2600 block of Connecticut Ave.,NW, put the break-in at 2:30 a.m. An employee arriving at work found the hole at 8:15 a.m., police said.

Officer Araz Alali, a D.C. police spokesman, said the burglar got into the bank and tried to break into an automatic teller machine. The officer said the attempt failed, and the burglar left without getting anything.

Police and FBI agents spent hours Friday at the scene of what Alali called a “large hole in the wall.” Authorities would not say how they believe it was made or whether any evidence was recovered, but the hole appeared to have been cut.

Special Agent Jacqueline Maguire, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Washington field office, called a burglary at a bank unusual.

“You don’t really hear of them too often these days,” she said.

There have been six bank holdups in the District in 2012, but only one burglary — Friday’s — according to the FBI. Bank robberies in the District have been going down lately, from 36 in 2010 to 16 last year.

Bank of America spokesman T.J. Crawford declined comment. He did confirm that the hole forced the branch, across the street from the Woodley Park Metro station, to close for the day. That was confirmed by a visit to the branch, where police were turning customers away.

Half a dozen FBI agents were busy collecting evidence Friday afternoon, wearing bright blue latex gloves as they inspected a two-foot rectangular hole between the bank and what had been Cafe International.

Signs plastered on the cafe’s window read “Retail space for lease.”