A knife-wielding thief demanded two packets of his favourite tobacco from a King Country service station attendant before grabbing cash from the till and fleeing on foot, the victim says.
Police are investigating the armed hold-up and have appealed for the public's help in order to hunt the offender down.
The man walked into the Te Kuiti Service Station on Rora St about 6.30am, Sergeant Craig Lindstrom of the Te Kuiti Police said.
"The man asked the sole male attendant on duty for a packet of cigarettes and at the same time produced a large kitchen knife and demanded the victim open the till.
"The offender has then grabbed the cigarettes and cash and fled the store on foot. Detectives are currently interviewing the victim and at present police would like to hear from anyone who noticed anything suspicious near the store between 6.15am and 6.45am today."
Te Kuiti Service Station manager, Mandeep Singh, said he was calm during the ordeal.
''He demanded two packets of Port Royal 50 gram roll your own smokes," Singh said.
"I gave him two then he asked me to open the till and he grabbed roughly $100.''
Singh said the man was wielding a large kitchen knife with a black handle.
He was working when the man walked inside with his hood up and a bandanna over his face.
''I thought, he's a robber... I was not scared.''
Although he'd never been robbed before, he had worked for five years in Auckland and was trained how to deal with thieves.
The offender fled on foot, he said.
Lindstrom said the offender was described as a male Caucasian wearing a dark coloured hooded sweatshirt with a scarf obscuring his face and dark coloured sunglasses.
Singh said the bandanna on his face and the hoody were red.
''Hopefully they catch him... it's not good for the town.''
Anyone who saw anything or who may know who was responsible is asked to contact the Te Kuiti Police on 07 8781450.
Alternatively, information can be left anonymously with the independent Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
- Waikato Times