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Trio Robs Rotorua’s Edmund Road Four Square

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On Sunday night, young employees at a Rotorua convenience store were left "terrified" and in tears after robbers, one armed with a hammer, caused extensive damage to the shop. A witness described the scene, stating that the robbers "smashed the whole shop up."

According to the Rotorua Daily Post, police reported that three offenders were involved in the incident at Four Square Edmund Road. Fortunately, no one was injured, although no arrests have been made yet.

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Foodstuffs, the store's parent company, acknowledged a rise in retail crime and announced plans to bolster security following the "frightening" event. Measures include employing a security guard during closing hours and installing fog cannons.

A witness, who wished to remain anonymous, recounted arriving at the store around 7:55 PM to use the ATM outside. He noticed a white vehicle pull into the car park, and a "tall" young man in a hoodie exited the car and entered the store.

While using the ATM, the witness heard "smashing and yelling" about a minute later. He canceled his transaction and approached the store. He saw the tall man leaving, who then brandished the hammer threateningly before running back to the car.

"The counter and everything inside were smashed to pieces," the witness told The New Zealand Herald, expressing concern for the three young female employees who were "terrified" and "crying" after the incident. He praised the store's reputation and hardworking staff, emphasizing the need for increased security at night.

Calum Sutherland, the store’s owner for the past 13 months, directed inquiries to Foodstuffs and the police.

A Foodstuffs spokesperson noted a significant increase in retail crime over the past few years, including theft, robbery, assault, and other violent behaviors. During the incident, a duty manager and seven team members were present, following the store's policy.

"We take the safety of our people and teams extremely seriously. Whenever there is a serious incident, we provide comprehensive support to those involved," the spokesperson said. Professional support has been offered to all team members affected by the incident.

In response to the robbery, the store has implemented additional security measures, including limits on cigarette sales at the counter, armed robbery retraining for staff, and ensuring safe transportation for employees. A security guard will be on duty during closing hours, and three fog cannons will be installed by Friday.

In March, the Rotorua Daily Post reported that the neighboring business, Gull, had transitioned to self-service after being robbed eight times in 10 years.

Police confirmed that no injuries were reported during the Four Square incident. "Three offenders entered the premises, threatened the retailer, and damaged property before leaving with stolen items. A vehicle used by the offenders was later found abandoned by police."

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