Bay liquor store worker badly injured during firearm-related armed hold-upSave
By Sandra Conchie
Armed robbers smashed a Bay liquor store worker in the face with a firearm and bottled him during a hold-up, the Bay of Plenty Times understands.
Police have released limited information about the armed raid, but sources say five men were involved in the robbery at 8pm on Sunday and they stole alcohol and cigarettes.
The store worker was understood to have suffered serious injuries and was expected to undergo surgery today.
A police communications spokeswoman confirmed the aggravated robbery.
"The shopkeeper was assaulted, and one of the offenders was reportedly in possession of a shotgun," the spokeswoman said.
Police said no further information could be released as the investigation was in its early stages.
It was the first of two armed hold-ups in less than 72 hours. Two masked men robbed the Tauriko Caltex service station about 2.10am yesterday. A getaway driver was also involved.
Police said the driver drove into the front doors before two passengers jumped out of the car and confronted a worker.
One of the men was carrying a knife.
The victim told the Bay of Plenty Times he was cleaning the coffee machine near the front doors when he noticed the vehicle park close to the doors.
The car rammed the locked doors twice, forcing one of the glass door panels off its hinges to gain access.
The two robbers then approached the front counter, the victim said.
"They told me we're going to rob the store and I should just cooperate with them."
The victim said he managed to push the panic button before he was pushed face down on the floor. One of the offenders then grabbed cash from the till and the pair filled rubbish bin liners with cigarettes and drove off.
One man showed him a knife, and he believed the other had a hammer.
"Both offenders had covered their faces with hooded jackets. One guy was a little bit skinny, and the other was medium build wearing a black hooded jacket and a mask," he said.
The victim said he did not see the getaway driver who stayed in the vehicle, which the Bay of Plenty Times understands was a blue Hilux Surf ute or light truck with a grey base.
"I was really scared as I did not know what they were going to do next. This is the first time in my life anything like this has happened to me," he said.
The victim said he had not been able to sleep since the robbery.
"My wife and children were so frightened for me".
"It was just terrible as I felt so vulnerable and powerless. I usually do the night shift, and I don't know whether I can face doing it again," he said.
The Bay of Plenty Times understands the offenders fled with trays of cigarettes and a small amount of cash. The robbery was over in a couple of minutes.
Caltex senior communications adviser Jeremy Clarke said, fortunately, no one was injured.
" Obviously the victim was extremely shaken, and this is a very concerning incident, he said.
Mr Clarke said the victim was resting at home for a couple of days.
These two armed robberies come after a spate of others, including the knife-point robbery of a Te Puke takeaway store on Friday night.
Police said the investigations into both incidents were ongoing and they were not in a position to release further information at this time.
Anyone with any information is urged to call police on 07 577 4300 or provide the information anonymously via the Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.
Other recent raids on Tauranga stores:
April 6: Tauranga Liquorland, Cameron Rd - Two men with wooden sticks assault a staff member
April 26: Lucky 7 Superette, Maungatapu Rd - Three offenders, one armed with pistol, rob store
April 28: Thirsty Liquor store, Chapel St - Alcohol, cigarettes and till stolen in ram-raid
May 2: United Video Fraser St - Female shop assistant robbed by man with machete
May 3: Quality Food and Spices - Attempted armed robbery with hammer
May 7: Carlisle St Convenience Store - Two men rob store, one armed with a hammer
May 11: Maungatapu Superette - Ram-raid with cash taken but failed attempt to steal cigarettes.
May 12: Te Puke Noodles and Takeaways - Masked man uses knife to threaten staff and steal cash