Drunken youths run amok

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 12:00 16/10/2012
Palmerston North Caltex
MURRAY WILSON/Fairfax NZ
TARGETED BY THIEVES: Fitzherbert Ave Caltex manager Mel Gray stands by some empty shelves.

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A mob of drunken youths stole hundreds of dollars worth of stock and left behind a trail of vomit and debris when they took their party to a Palmerston North service station.

Staff at the Fitzherbert Ave Caltex spent the weekend cleaning up vomit, broken glass, and litter after a group of about 40 youths descended on the station on Saturday night.

They spent about an hour and a half at the service station before leaving with bags of chips, chocolate, lollies, biscuits, drinks and even loaves of bread.

Some of the food and drink was paid for but about 200 items were allegedly stolen.

Station manager Mel Gray said the on-duty staff member was unaware for some time that items were being stolen because there were so many people at the site.

She said another staff member called the police about some young people earlier in the night because they were smoking on the forecourt and refused to leave.

Miss Gray said she believed the smoking youths were from the same group that returned en masse about an hour later, many of them clearly intoxicated.

Security footage from the store showed them coming in waves and hanging around both inside the shop and on the forecourt.

Inside, some youths bought items, while others were caught on camera stealing food items.

One particularly determined girl could be seen stuffing packets of chips, a chocolate bar and icecreams into her underwear.

The group employed tactics that included asking the staff member for something not on the shelves, so he would be occupied out the back of the store, Miss Gray said.

A small group of people wandered into the stock room, which was left open, where they spent at least 10 minutes.

The mob was at the service station for about an hour before the server, who was alone in the store, contacted police.

Miss Gray said she had spoken to him and he realised he had "dropped the ball".

He would not be losing his job, she said.

"I think he was stressed out and overwhelmed."

A stocktake at the store had not yet been finished but the running total of lost stock had reached in excess of $200.

Chocolate bars - especially Twix two packs, and cookies and cream flavoured chocolate - rated among the most desirable plundered items.

She said that the stocktaking process was taking a long time because staff were checking the footage carefully to make sure that items picked up were walked out the door without being paid for.

"All I care about is identifying them and issuing trespass orders so they can't come back," Miss Gray said.

Security footage was being prepared for police, who were investigating, she said.

Senior Sergeant Brett Amas was unable to comment on the incident but confirmed police had attended on the night.

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- Manawatu Standard

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