Four people wearing disguises shoved and manhandled a female attendant during an aggravated robbery at Waitara's BJ's Challenge Four Square early yesterday.
Police are appealing for the public's help to catch the group who staged the robbery about 4.40am. The offenders stole cigarettes and cash before running north towards the sea in Browne St.
Detective Sergeant Brent Matuku said the group wore balaclavas and dark clothing.
There were no obvious weapons involved in the attack and the attendant was not injured.
"This was a cowardly, intimidating, nasty attack on a lone female trying to go about her business," Mr Matuku said.
"There are at least four, probably significantly more, people in our community that know who these offenders are."
Mr Matuku said police were asking anyone who had information or who saw any suspicious activity near BJ's Challenge Four Square early yesterday to contact police.
Owner Tony McGreal said a second attendant raised the alarm after arriving a couple of minutes after the attack and realising something was wrong.
"Obviously they've been through a traumatic experience," Mr McGreal said.
"They both did an excellent job."
He urged anyone who had information about the robbery to contact the police.
"It doesn't matter where it happens," he said.
"Its of concern to every retailer and other people.
"While it has been a shop robbery at this stage it may well be someone's home next time."
Anyone with information is asked to contact Mr Matuku on (06) 215 4209, or the New Plymouth police on (06) 759 5508.
Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously through the Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.
- © Fairfax NZ News