Armed robberies alarming

KAROLINE TUCKEY
Last updated 16:18 17/07/2014

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Horowhenua Mail

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Police are investigating a spate of armed robberies across Horowhenua in the last two weeks.

On July 1, a couple were threatened with what was believed to be a weapon outside Te Takere in Levin. Their car was stolen, and one of them was injured.

Two days later the Tiro Tiro Rd dairy was robbed by a masked machete- wielding man who seized the day's takings before running from the store to a nearby street where it is thought an accomplice was waiting with a getaway car.

On July 9, the Foxton Four Square was robbed by a man who threatened the cashier with a gun, and also is thought to have escaped the scene in a getaway car parked nearby.

In the most recent case a masked man robbed a Hokio Beach Rd dairy armed with a hammer, before escaping to a nearby waiting car.

Four people have been arrested and charged in connection to two of the cases.

An 18-year-old and a 19-year-old man were charged with aggravated robbery for the car jacking. On Sunday another 18-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman were charged with aggravated robbery following the Hokio Beach Food Store robbery.

Both pairs appeared in Levin District Court yesterday, with all four remanded to reappear at the court on July 23.

Detective Peter Vine said police investigators were looking into the two remaining unsolved dairy robberies, and any possible links to the pair charged with the Hokio Beach store robbery would be fully examined.

The spate of four serious armed incidents occurring within 13 days of each other in Horowhenua was unusual, he said.

Detective Craig Sheridan called the incidents "dumb crime", with serious repercussions for all involved.

"It's foolishness on behalf of the offenders because they are very violent crimes for little gain, but the end result for the offender is very serious.

"They put everyone at risk, and have put the victims of the crime through a very traumatic experience emotionally."

The arrests made after the Hokio Beach Rd dairy robbery showed how valuable information provided to police could be to investigators, he said.

"Through enquiry work we were able to track them to an address and execute a search warrant."

A car police believe was used in the robbery was seized, along with cash.

Levin's Sunshine Dairy owner operator Fengli Su said the three dairy robberies in Foxton and Levin meant she kept a close eye on what was happening near her store now.

"Because I have little kids with me at night time in the shop I tell them that if someone comes in with a face mask to be careful, and I showed them where the alarm is."

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Vine called for any suspicious activities seen near stores to be reported to police immediately.

Anyone with information can contact Levin police on 06 366 0500, or call Crimestoppers, 0800 555 111.

- Horowhenua Mail

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