Staff in shock after holdup

Bandits wished victims a Merry Christmas

RYAN EVANS
Last updated 05:00 26/12/2012
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The Treehouse was robbed early yesterday morning
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The Treehouse

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Two shotgun-wielding bandits wished their victims a merry Christmas before fleeing the scene of their stick-up on a motorbike yesterday morning.

Three staff members were cleaning up at New Plymouth's Treehouse Restaurant and Bar about 1.15am when two offenders wearing helmets, gloves and dark clothes entered the bar with a shotgun and demanded cash.

Nobody was injured in the robbery but the three staff were left seriously traumatised, Detective Sergeant Brent Matuku said.

"It was a traumatic welcome to Christmas for the staff members," he said.

"It was lucky the offenders were controlled in their aggression, there was no real violence, other than the obvious violence of having a shotgun pointed in your face.

"The staff will never forget it."

As the bandits left they told their victims the money was "for our Christmas", Mr Matuku said.

"Then they said Merry Christmas and added a couple of expletives before they took off."

He said the robbery had definite elements of having been pre-planned.

Treehouse owner Grant Schwieters praised his staff for averting a tragedy.

He said the amount of cash taken was quite small, despite the pub enjoying a busy Christmas Eve.

"It had been busy but these days a lot of it is eftpos.

"They've done a major crime for little reward. Thank God it didn't end in tragedy."

He was full of praise for the way the workers handled themselves in a nasty situation.

"They did everything they should have and handled it really well - they're heroes really.

"It's just a traumatic thing to have happen.

"The staff did everything asked of them and everything right and we're just so grateful nobody was hurt."

Mr Matuku said the offenders took off on a motorbike, heading west on Devon St West towards the Blagdon shops.

"Police are requesting help from the community to solve this nasty crime and are interested to hear from anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity around the time and location or if they have any information to assist the police," Mr Matuku said.

"People may know who they are or have seen them hanging around bars."

People can call the New Plymouth Police on 06 7595508.

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