Members of the public are being praised for helping police capture a man who threatened three pharmacy workers with a knife, tied them up and robbed the shop in Dunedin last night.

Detective Sergeant Brett Roberts said the man entered a pharmacy on Hillside Rd, Dunedin, about 5.30pm wearing a balaclava and told a staff member he had a knife.

While the man was restraining the employee and two others with tape, a member of the public outside the shop noticed the incident and called Dunedin police.

When police arrived members of the public were able to point officers in the direction of the robber's escape.


The man was pursued into a nearby street, pepper-sprayed and taken into custody.

The incident was similar to another pharmacy robbery in July when a knife-wielding man herded five workers into a back room before stealing prescription drugs.

Mr Roberts said police were investigating whether the incidents were linked.

He praised the public for their help in last night's arrest, and the calmness of the pharmacy staff who seemed to be coping "admirably well" after the incident.

A 45-year-old man has been arrested and Mr Roberts said charges would follow.