Dairy owner on lockdown as Tomahawk-wielding thief raids Nelson store
A Nelson dairy owner locked himself away while a tomahawk-wielding thief ransacked his store.
On the Spot Tahuna Store and Bakery owner Kamlash Maisuriya said a man in a grey hooded sweatshirt came into his shop on Muritai St just before 5pm on Wednesday.
"I could see his eyes only," Maisuriya said.
The man had the tomahawk and a bag, which he threw at Maisuriya and demanded money from the till.
Maisuriya said he was concerned something might happen when the man entered the store.
"There was nobody coming in, nobody outside – it was a good time to come in."
Maisuriya said he took his time to open the till and the man smashed a glass panel on the icecream freezer "because I took too long".
"He didn't say anything, he just smacked the glass. I thought I'm not going to try anything."
Once the till was open, the man busied himself taking cash. Maisuriya took the chance to back slowly out of the rear of the store and locked the door.
Maisuriya said he rushed around to the front of the store intending to close the main door and shut the man inside.
"When I came to the front door, he'd gone."
Along with cash from the till, the man took cigarettes from a cupboard behind the shop counter. The icecream in the freezer had to be thrown out.
The axe-wielding man was described as aged 25-30 years, of solid build, and wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt bearing distinctive designs on the chest with dark track pants. He ran from the store, heading south along Muritai St.
"Someone will recognise this person," said Detective Dean Schroder, of Nelson police.
"If you recognise the man, or have information which might help us identify him, please call Nelson police on (03) 546 3840."
Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Johnston said while there had been a series of robberies reported recently at dairies around the country, it was "not the sort of thing that happens that often around Nelson".
He encouraged any member of the public who could help to contact police.
Information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Maisuriya, who was not injured, was open on Thursday morning and philosophical about the incident.
"What happens, happens," he said. "What are you going to do? Sit at home and not open the shop?"
Maisuriya said he had owned the dairy for 13 years and it was the first robbery. Many years ago, the store had been broken into at night and some chips were taken. On Boxing Day, the outside of the shop was damaged after it was hit by a vehicle.
The aggravated robbery comes just two days after a masked man asked for money at the Night Owl Store on Waimea Rd and then took a knife from his pocket. When store owner Bhavash Patel asked what the knife was for, the man left.
An 18 year-old man was arrested and charged with aggravated burglary over the incident at Night Owl.