Smokes raid in central Cambridge all too familiar
Cigarette robberies have become so commonplace that many people will know exactly how the latest smash and grab unfolded.
At 2.30am on Thursday three men drove into the forecourt of the Z in central Cambridge, Waikato police Senior Sergeant Phil Ruddell said.
The red Nissan saloon was, as per usual, stolen.
They jumped out. Their faces were covered. At least one had a hammer.
* Fog cannons at Hamilton Z Energy petrol station deter armed robber
* Cigarettes stolen in service station smash-and-grabs
* Four robberies on Friday in the Waikato
* Waikato's rise in robberies has left workers living in fear
They used it to smash the glass of the locked front door.
Inside, a store attendant working the late shift fled out the back and locked the office door.
The trio rifled through the counter, snatching cigarettes and pilfering cash.
In the last financial year to March 2017 there were 25 reported robberies on Z service stations.
After a Hamilton Z station waas targeted at the weekend, spokesperson Jonathan Hill said something "has fundamentally changed".
"There is a level of coordination and organisation to it all, which is very scary."
Z has spent $8 million installing high grade CCTV cameras and bollards, he said. They're also rolling out fog canons to their stores.
The company is also introducing single cigarette dispensers that only dispense one packet at a time.
"For our guys on site this is bloody petrifying. It takes a real toll on them and their families."
Ruddell said the car used in Thursday's raid was taken from the Hamilton suburb of Bader and is yet to be recovered.
"Police will be going over the scene forensically this morning and are looking for those three males."
Ruddell said police would like to hear from anyone who may have information or witnessed the early morning robbery.
It took place at the Z service station on Victoria St at the roundabout in central Cambridge.
If you have information call Hamilton police on 07 858 6200.
Or leave details anonymously on Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.