Smoker grabs and runs

19:45, May 30 2012
Theft of tobacco
Caught on camera: A screen shot of the 19-year-old who left the dairy with almost $72 of tobacco-related items.

A dairy in Blenheim was robbed for the second time in 11 months last night as a teenager took off with tobacco and cigarettes.

Min He, owner of Showground Store dairy in Maxwell Rd, was waiting for an eftpos transaction to go through when her customer ran out of the store without paying about 5pm yesterday.

Ms He asked for the man's identification and it showed he was born in November 1992.

Min He
Tobacco fix: Dairy owner Min He, behind the counter at her dairy in Maxwell Rd, said the tobacco thief ran away "just too fast''

When his eftpos card declined for the second time, the 19-year-old grabbed the tobacco and ran.

He left the shop with almost $72 worth of goods, including a packet of 50g Port Royal tobacco valued at $54, a packet of Winfield Green cigarettes, yellow papers, and filters.

Ms He said she chased the man as far as the shop door and watched as he ran off.


"It was just horrible," she said.

"How can people do that? He even talked to me.

"I didn't think he was going to do something stupid."

The incident was caught on the store's security camera, and shows a tall man wearing a black beanie and a blue sweatshirt.

It is the second time Showground Store has had tobacco stolen.

In July, two teenagers were caught on camera leaving the shop with a packet of Port Royal tobacco without paying.

Ms He said the teenagers were identified through a picture but they had left Blenheim so were not caught.

She said she was thankful it was only money taken.

"My mum thinks he didn't hurt me, so that's lucky," Ms He said.

When asked if she thought the recent increase in tobacco prices announced in the Budget would cause more thefts, Ms He said she didn't know.

"It's not just cigarettes," she said.

"Everything is expensive, so they've got no money to buy cigarettes or alcohol."

Anyone with information about the man should contact police.

The Marlborough Express