Crazy story in Australia ... cops say a man used a fishing rod FOR HOURS to steal a Versace necklace from a store last month -- and they say the whole thing was caught on video.
Detectives in Melbourne say on Feb. 24 ... a man rolled up to a storefront with a rod and reel at around 2 AM and began to work on trying to nab a pricey piece of jewelry off a mannequin.
Cops say for nearly 3 hours ... the guy was caught on video sticking the rod through a crack in the store window.
You can see in some footage of the alleged crime released by cops this week, the guy has some SERIOUS patience -- and it all begs the question ... WHERE THE HELL IS EVERYONE?!?!?!
Eventually ... authorities say the dude was able to land his catch and flee the scene -- and now, they're asking for help to identify him.
When we got comedian Brad Williams out in L.A. on Wednesday night and asked him about the burglary ... he says cops can't even be mad at the guy -- telling us the crime is ingenious.
But, Williams says the guy screwed up in one big way ... and his thievery advice for the dude going forward is pretty hilarious!!