I should have called police first says dairy owner

TESSA JOHNSTONE
Last updated 07:16 20/08/2014
Whitby dairy owners
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

BAD RUN: Whitby dairy owners Roshni and Jimmy Patal, who chased a young man after he tried to hold up their store on Monday night.

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The attempted robbery all happened in less than a minute, and dairy owner Jimmy Patel said he just reacted without thinking.

A young man with a machete entered the Whitby Supermarket about 7.20pm on Monday, and while Patel and wife Roshni were in the back, he tried to open the cigarette case, then the till, before smashing a glass counter and fleeing empty- handed.

"It happened in 15, 20 seconds' time, we just shouted, 'Who is that?' and he ran outside and I followed him," Jimmy Patel said.

His eight-months-pregnant wife also gave chase, but the man ran into a nearby tunnel walkway and disappeared from sight.

Patel called police, and then got in his car and scouted the area but could not find the culprit. He had still not been found by police last night.

"But actually that was the wrong thing I did," Patel said. "You should straight away call the police. Though sometimes if you call the police and they ask you questions, it's too late."

The couple said it had been a "little bit scary" returning to work at the shop yesterday and they would now make sure there were always two people in the store.

"It's scary for the businessman, especially the small businessman like this. It's very hard to keep all the security up."

The store had a panic button and CCTV equipment but it did not record - the Patels are now upgrading their system.

Earlier this month, a Ngaio dairy owner scolded a 14-year-old boy as he held her up at knifepoint. She chased him when he fled the scene with about $100. Kelly Patel said she told the boy, who had a carving knife, to "get a job" as he robbed her shop, then chased him in her van as he fled.

In June, Auckland dairy owner Arun Kumar was killed, allegedly by two boys aged 12 and 13.

Detective Sergeant Mike Sears said Monday's incident could have easily escalated and the owner should have called police rather than get in the man's face.

"We are lucky someone was not injured. Shop owners who find themselves in these situations need to be careful they don't expose themselves to harm.

"We want to assure the community that we will do everything we can to identify this offender."

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- The Dominion Post

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