Thieves ram-raid Paeroa gas station
Two thieves used a stolen van to ram Paeroa Z station before making off with a cigarettes and tobacco early this morning.
Paeroa Police are today searching for a white Toyota Hiace van, registration XE3950.
The 1993 refrigeration van was stolen from a Te Aroha address at 7pm last night, said Paeroa constable Scott Tyrrell.
Tyrrell said CCTV revealed the van rammed the Belmont Rd gas station at 4am this morning, then two male offenders got out.
''They didn't have the access code to the door so they jumped over the counter and took loose tobacco and cigarettes, at this stage we're not sure how much.''
Both were wearing hoodies, sneakers and dark clothing. The thieves could not access the locked cabinet where the bulk of cigarettes are typically stored. About 10 minutes later, a truck driver heading north saw two suspicious males south of the service station, Tyrrell said.
''He heard the alarm going off and saw a big hole in the front of the service station.
''Paeroa's a quiet town and it's strange for people to be out at that hour.''
One of the males the truck driver saw is described as tall and skinny, while the other was short and either bulky or carrying something, Tyrrell said. Both appeared to be dark skinned.
Tyrrell said the van has not been seen since the theft.The van's back wheels are low and wide, and its side and back windows are made of white metal sheeting.Tyrrell said police are asking anyone who sights the van to call police immediately.
''If you see it, don't touch it, just give Crimestoppers or police a call straight away.''
Paeroa Police can be contacted on 07 862 8744, or information can be anonymously left with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.