The menace of aggravated robberies for petty cash, cigarettes and alcohol has begun again as winter creeps over New Zealand.
A man broke his arm and bruised his face, a woman shoved with a chair at her own store, another woman threatened, vehicle stolen and then torched and others traumatised with firearms and sticks – these are some of the graphic visuals of a number of violent aggravated robberies in the last ten days.
Police are investigating six separate aggravated robberies reported across different parts of the north island and south island in less than two weeks. These aggravated robberies at local retail stores, read dairy stores and liquor stores have resulted in assaults, injuries and loss of inventory and a sense of perpetual fear amongst small to medium-sized businesses across the country.
On Tuesday, May 21, two men with firearms threatened a liquor store attendant in Upper Hutt at 10:45 a.m. and escaped with cash in the stolen car. The car was later found abandoned at Totara Park area. The offenders are still at large and police is investigating.
On Thursday, May 23, a man was grievously beaten outside his business in Opotiki, Bay of Plenty region. The man suffered from a bruised and swollen face and broke his arm in the robbery attempt. Police arrested a 33-year-old man the next day, and he appeared in the Whakatane District Court earlier this week.
On Sunday, May 26, a female store attendant was shoved with a chair and cigarettes stolen from a dairy store on Lincoln Road in Christchurch. The incident occurred at around 12:30 p.m. when a man entered the cash register area of the dairy store, violently shoved a chair raised by the female store attendant for self-defence pushing her down on the ground seemingly traumatised by the offender who brazenly collected cigarette packets for 45 seconds before jumping on the cash register and escaping from the scene. Police released the CCTV footage and appealed the public to come forward to help hunt the miscreant.
Monday, May 27 witnessed another robbery attempt by two men brandishing weapons, possibly large sticks at Grasmere Grocery store in Grasmere, Invercargill at around 6:50 p.m. The duo escaped with cigarettes from the store in a stolen vehicle.
Four men robbed a dairy store of cash and cigarettes on Tuesday, May 28, at around 7:55 a.m. and escaped the scene in a stolen vehicle.
A woman in Hamilton was violently pulled out of her vehicle by a man, possibly escaping after a robbery attempt at a retail store on Avalon Drive, Hamilton on Wednesday, May 29, around 6 a.m.
A female also accompanied the man in the incident as the woman was threatened and pulled out of the front seat of her vehicle. The vehicle was later found on fire half an hour after the incident. The female victim was unhurt but shocked and upset because of the violent early morning incident.
Police said the CCTV is being reviewed and CIB are conducting forensic inquiries on the scorched vehicle. Police are looking to speak with anyone who has information about the assault or the offenders.
Anyone with information can call Hamilton police on (07) 858 6200. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.