Police suspect cash heists may link to same robbers

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 06:30 17/01/2014

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Hutt Valley

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Two separate robberies in the Hutt Valley by armed men who stole cash and used stolen getaway cars may be connected, police say.

Last week, a trio of armed men carrying pistols assaulted two security guards in Lower Hutt, threatening them with a shotgun and then fleeing with cash. The men were wearing balaclavas and matching black T-shirts with the letters "NY" on them, and were carrying shotguns, police said.

After taking cash from the security van, the robbers fled in a stolen red Honda Odyssey, which was found elsewhere in Lower Hutt, and then escaped in another stolen car.

Police are now hunting for any surveillance footage of the incident.

The heist bears similarities to an earlier aggravated robbery in November on a busy Upper Hutt street. In that incident, four masked men with pistols and screwdrivers threatened a security guard and robbed an Armourguard van in Main St before fleeing. They used a stolen getaway vehicle driven by a third person. The car was found abandoned in Ebdentown St.

The robbers had run down an alleyway and jumped into another car that was parked in Clouston Park Rd, which was also later found abandoned behind the Clouston Park shops. The vehicles used in that robbery were stolen from different car parks in Wellington and Lower Hutt earlier in the day, police said.

Both aggravated robberies remain under investigation and police now believed they could be linked, Hutt Valley area commander Inspector Mike Hill says.

"We have had two robberies - there are some similarities but some differences. We have two investigations ongoing but our staff are looking to see whether we have one group of offenders."

Police were unable to comment on the amount stolen in the most recent robbery without the permission of the currency management service that was transporting the cash. A representative for ACM Security declined to comment.

Anyone with information on the robberies is urged to contact Hutt Valley police on 560 2600 or to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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