Team work helps solve crimes

By Amy McGillivray

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The Lenz Superette on Cameron Rd was robbed on May 17.
The Lenz Superette on Cameron Rd was robbed on May 17.

Armed robbers hit five Tauranga stores and 42 people were mugged during the first 11 months of 2013, figures show.

Last year's figures are on par with the 48 aggravated robberies recorded in the Western Bay in 2012 and higher than the 35 in 2011. In 2012, 35 of the 48 incidents were solved.

Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner said store and dairy robberies were uncommon and the few that did occur were generally solved quickly.

"History shows that the Western Bay of Plenty police, working as a team, are very quick to resolve those robberies.

"It's not worth the lengthy jail sentence you will incur when we catch up with you soon after," he said.

In March last year, two staff at the Crazy Clearance and Convenience Store on Cameron Rd pelted a would-be robber with tin cans after he brandished two planks of wood and demanded cash and cigarettes.

He ran away empty handed and was arrested a few days later.

A balaclava-clad man entered the Lenz Superette on Cameron Rd armed with a pistol in May and stole cigarettes and synthetic cannabis.

He was arrested less than an hour later and was later sentenced to 12 months home detention and community work.

In July, two people armed with a baton and wearing balaclavas entered Brookfield Veterinary Centre on Otumoetai Rd, threatened an employee and stole cash, drugs and property.

The pair and their getaway car driver have all been arrested.

A shop worker grabbed a hockey stick and chased an armed robber out of Summit Superette on Waihi Rd in August. The man pleaded guilty after he was arrested.

The only armed robbery unsolved from last year was at the Mobil service station on Chapel St. On October 2 a man walked in with a knife and demanded money which the attendant handed over. Mr Turner said police were still waiting on the results of forensic examinations from the scene.

More common and equally as serious were the number of random muggings in the area each year, Mr Turner said.

The items stolen in the 42 street robberies between January 1 and November 30 last year ranged from beanies, shoes and skateboards through to wallets and phones from people walking through parks or on the street, he said.

"They are a real risk to not only the victim but also they are generally committed by young people and a robbery conviction is quite limiting to young people. It's quite a serious offence and there's no need for it."

One of those muggings left a 20-year-old man in need of major facial surgery after he was beaten unconscious, robbed and left in his car on Maxwells Rd, Bureta on November 22.

People needed to be vigilant when walking home in the dark, try to stay in groups and knock on a door and ask for help if they are worried about the behaviour of people in the area, he said.

Mr Turner said the resolution rate for street robberies was also high.

It was important would-be robbers considered the impact of their actions, not only on the lives of their victims, but for their own future, he said.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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