"I just got robbed by a guy with a knife.

"He made me empty the safe and the till."

Just before 10am yesterday the owner of Mags, Cards and Lotto, who only wanted to be known as Travis, was robbed by a man with a knife.

Speaking to the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend about an hour after the incident, Travis said he was shaken and upset, but otherwise unharmed.

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He estimated the incident lasted about 40 seconds all up.

As soon as the robber left Travis had run out the door seeking help.

Motorists passing along Cameron Rd had called the police, he said.

"I've had the shop for three years and this is the first time anything like this has happened."

Travis had not recognised the robber so did not think he was a regular in the shop.

He was surprised the robber did not try to take cigarettes.

The amount that was taken has yet to be established.

Next door at the St Vincent de Paul office Margaret Fisher saw the aftermath of the robbery.

"[Travis] rushed in and said he had been robbed. He seemed to be all right, just upset."

Cameronian Dairy owner Jin Kim called the police when Travis had told him what had happened.

"He was fine but he was scared," he said.

"It's scared me, too.

"Sometimes we have problems.

"It's a dangerous area."

Tauranga police Senior Sergeant Eddie Lyttle said the robber was last seen by the store staff running out the door towards Tauranga Hospital.

Mr Lyttle said police cordoned off the area to search for the culprit and during that search, came across a stolen dark-coloured Subaru Forrester in Koromiko St.

Police had chased the vehicle up Waihi Rd, where it crashed into another car but the driver continued fleeing.

The Subaru had also hit another vehicle and parked car shortly afterwards and police abandoned the pursuit.

Mr Lyttle said the Subaru was seen by another patrol vehicle only minutes later in Cambridge Rd, heading towards Tauriko, but did not give chase.

Members of the public had seen the damaged car at River Oaks Drive and contacted police.

Two Tokoroa men were due to appear in court today, one facing charges of unlawfully taking a vehicle and failing to stop, and the other man, who was being treated in Tauranga Hospital last night, has been charged with unlawfully getting into a vehicle.

A River Oaks Drive resident, who did not want his name published, said he came out of his driveway and saw a black car, the Subaru, parked up a neighbouring driveway with smoke coming out of it.

"The police turned up, then dog handlers arrived.

"The right front bumper of the car was all smashed."

Mr Lyttle said investigations into the robbery were continuing and police had not yet established whether the two incidents were related.

He said the police appreciated the help from members of the public who played a major role in locating the Subaru.

Police would like to hear from anyone who may have seen the offender leaving the scene of the robbery near the hospital and 17th Avenue, or may have any information that may lead to identifying who is responsible.

Information can be passed on to Tauranga police on 5774300 or provided anonymously on Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.