Four robberies on Friday in the Waikato
Knives and a hammer were among the weapons used in a string of Waikato robberies.
Robbers targeted four Waikato shops - from Taupiri to Hamilton East - on Friday, a police statement said.
The Waikato CIB is investigating but says it's too early to say if the crimes are connected.
In the first, at 1.50pm, a knife-wielding robber stole cigarettes from Te Kowhai Food Centre.
He brandished the knife before jumping the counter to grab the smokes.
When he left the Horotiu Road shop, he got into a red vehicle.
Taupiri Dairy was the next shop to be robbed, and the offenders were carrying knives and a hammer.
The trio entered the Te Putu Street dairy around 5.50pm and stole cash, a police statement said.
They fled the scene in a red Toyota Corolla, which contained a fourth person.
That car had been reported stolen from Ngaruawahia's Ellery Street around midday, police said.
Police later found it back in Ellery Street and have taken it for forensic testing.
At 6.20pm, robbers struck at Hamilton's Underpass Superette.
Two men with unspecified weapons stole tobacco from the Forest Lake Road dairy, police said.
The last in the string of robberies was at Eastside Drycleaners in Hamilton East.
One of the three men involved said he had a gun, but didn't present it, police said.
The trio took a wallet and car keys from the Grey Street shop around 9.10pm and ran off.
Anyone who witnessed the incidents or who has information about them can contact Waikato Police on (07) 858 6200 or report it anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.