Worker bashed in raids on Wellington stores

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 05:00 07/11/2012
Kilbirnie robbery
Police are seeking this man in relation to an attempted robbery at the Kilbirnie Liquor Centre on the corner of Bay Rd and Coutts St.
The assaulted Kilbirnie Liquor Centre employee
CRAIG SIMCOX/Fairfax NZ
BLOODIED: Police and ambulance officers speak to the assaulted Kilbirnie Liquor Centre employee after Tuesday’s attempted robbery.

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A terrified shop attendant used a crutch to defend himself as he was punched repeatedly by a man trying to steal liquor from a store in Wellington.

He was then tossed around in what police called a sustained attack before he escaped and ran bleeding from the Kilbirnie Liquor Centre about 2.50pm yesterday.

He was taken to Wellington Hospital with minor facial injuries. Police are still hunting for his attacker.

The violent incident was the second attempted robbery in Bay Rd - Kilbirnie's main street - in hours.

Earlier, a masked man walked into The Discount ‘T' store armed with a knife and ran off with an undisclosed amount of cash after threatening a woman behind the counter. She was left very distraught, police said.

A 20-year-old man was arrested a short time later at his home, while an alleged accomplice was held by staff at St Catherine's College until police arrived. A third man was also arrested in relation to the incident and the cash recovered.

The 20-year-old has been charged with aggravated robbery, and the two others, also in their 20s, are charged with being accessories after the fact. All three are due in Wellington District Court today.

As police continued to investigate that incident, the shop attendant was attacked about 100 metres away at the corner of Bay Rd and Coutts St. He confronted a man who was attempting to steal liquor, Acting Detective Sergeant Sam Mercer said.

He was punched several times before grabbing the crutch from behind the counter.

"He's done his best to defend himself and he's escaped from the store."

A knuckle duster may have been used in the incident, a police spokesman said.

Mr Mercer said the attacker was seen leaving the store and entering the Countdown supermarket nearby. Police were reviewing CCTV footage of the incident.

The attacker was described as Maori or Polynesian, with short dark hair. He was wearing tan-coloured trousers, white Nike shoes and a green sweatshirt with an emblem on the front and back. His clothing may have had blood on it.

Mr Mercer appealed for anyone who might have seen the offender fleeing the area through the Countdown car park to come forward.

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- The Dominion Post

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