The owner of a dairy who was threatened with a tomahawk during a robbery says children caught up in the raid clutched each other in terror.
The owner of Jeram's Superette in Rotorua, who declined to be named for fear of reprisals, was robbed by three armed men at about 3.20pm on Saturday and is disgusted children in the store at the time had to witness such violence.
The trio stole cash and personal jewellery before leaving in a getaway car, a silver Mazda Familia driven by another man.
At the time of the robbery three primary school children were in the store buying lollies.
The shop owner said he was angry the robbers did not even remove the children from the shop first.
"It's disgusting they exposed these kids to this violence,'' said the cleary infuriated owner.
''The children came in to buy lollies, they were only young, between six and eight years old. They were told to get down on the floor, absolutely terrified they did so clutching each other for comfort," he said.
"They were so scared."
The owner said he was the only one at the front of shop.
"I was told to get down on my stomach and put my hands behind my back. While I did this they held a tomahawk axe over me and told me if I didn't listen they would kill me," he said.
"My wife and two of my children were out the back. One of the offenders went out the back and smashed two TV's, hurt my wife's hand and kicked my daughter's shoulder. They were so scared. This has affected us all."
The owner said such incidents seemed to be happening more regularly and becoming more violent.
"It was not like this 20-30 years ago. These people need to be punished in a way that prevents anyone ever doing this again to shop keepers. We are very vulnerable and still do our best to serve the public working very long hours."
Five teenagers from Auckland and Rotorua were due to appear in Rotorua District Court today on a string of charges linked to a stolen vehicle which crashed at Ngongotaha yesterday. Police chased a suspicious car before calling off the pursuit.
The car crashed into a traffic light pole and the three occupants were chased on foot by officers and a police dog resulting in all three being arrested.
Property allegedly linked to the dairy was recovered and a home searched.
Two 16-year-old boys were arrested at that address.One has been charged with burglary and the other has been charged with receiving stolen goods.The three occupants of the car, aged 15, 16 and 17 have all been charged with unlawfully taking a vehicle. The 16-year-old has been additionally charged with failing to stop for police and reckless driving.
The 17-year-old also has been additionally charged with breach of bail.
Detective Senior Sergeant said:''It is still too early to speculate on who was involved in the robberies at the weekend and that investigation is ongoing, but we haven't ruled out further charges."
Police want information about the movements of a silver Mazda Familia Sports 20 that was stolen in Auckland on Thursday, 22 May and dumped at Ti Street between 3.30pm and 4pm on Sunday, 25 May.
It is believed to have been frequenting the Te Ngae area during this time.
The movements of a red Mazda MPV between 2pm on Sunday, 25 May and 4pm yesterday afternoon are also being sought.
The community is also asked to keep an eye out for a discarded shop till.The till was taken during the St Andrews Superette robbery on Sunday afternoon and is yet to be located.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Rotorua Police on 07 348 0099.Information can also be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
- Waikato Times