Fleeing robber threatens to shoot manager

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 20:43 15/08/2012

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A fleeing robber pulled a gun from his pocket and threatened to shoot a man who had tackled him moments earlier, police say.

The armed incident unfolded in Jackson St, Petone, after a man tried to steal puffer jackets from Kathmandu about 2.20pm. It is the third incident targeting Kathmandu stores in the Wellington region this week.

The theft of about $8000 of jewellery from Michael Hill Jeweller in Lambton Quay about three hours later may also be related to the incident, police said.

Detective Sergeant George Campbell said tonight that the robber was initially tackled in the store by the manager and the jackets he was trying to steal were knocked from his hands.

‘‘He then ran off with the manager in pursuit,’’ Campbell said. ‘‘The offender has turned around and pulled a gun out of his pocket and threatened to shoot the manager.

‘‘The offender has then jumped into a dark-coloured sedan, which was parked in the store car park, and sped off. There were two men waiting in the car.’’

Police believe the men had also tried unsuccessfully to steal jackets from a Kathmandu store in Lyall Bay about 30 minutes earlier.

It is also believed they stole 10 puffer jackets from the Willis St store on Tuesday.

Kathmandu chief executive Peter Halkett said yesterday staff members at the stores were ‘‘very upset’’ after the incidents.

‘‘It’s fantastic they felt compelled to protect our property, but on the other hand it’s putting them at risk, which we are not that happy about.

‘‘We are obviously very, very concerned for our team members and supporting them.’’

Several expensive items were being targeted by thieves who would walk into the stores, grab armfuls of goods and try to walk out again, Halkett said.

‘‘We think this is an escalation not just for us, but for all retailers that needs to be dealt with very seriously.’’

The offenders are described as Maori men aged in their 20s. The man who entered the store was wearing a light-coloured hoodie or sweatshirt and jeans.

Detective Constable Neil Parsons of Wellington said police were looking into the possibility of the jewellery theft being linked to the incident. ‘‘There’s leads, but we’re still in the early stages.’’

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- The Dominion Post

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