Thieves have stolen an estimated $7000 worth of cigarettes and tobacco from a Hauraki dairy, whose owner confronted the man taking them.
The theft from the Turua Dairy and Takeaways on Hauraki Rd in Turua, south of Ngatea, happened early on Saturday morning.
Dairy owner Monika Singh said all the cigarettes and tobacco from the cupboards were taken. "They took it all - 50 grams, 40 grams, they took it all."
Singh said this was the first time the shop had been burgled since the family bought it four years ago.
Senior Sergeant Andrew O'Reilly, of the Waikato police district command centre, said the store owner confronted the burglar and was threatened with a crowbar.
"There was one person committing the burglary with a carload of people waiting."
No-one was hurt.
O'Reilly said cigarette thefts in the area were increasing. Saturday's incident follows Waikato petrol stations being targeted. "Cigarettes are a black market, tradeable commodity so that's what the burglars are using them for," he said.
Anyone with information on the burglaries can call Hamilton Central Police Station on 07-858-6200 or Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111.