Police are stunned by the risks taken by raiders who pointed a gun at a 15-year-old schoolboy in a dairy on Sunday night - the second robbery of its type in Hastings in a week.
Jaskaran Kaur, a Karamu High School pupil, was working with mother Surjit in the Zodiac Dairy on the corner of Jellicoe St and Beattie St in suburban Mayfair, Hastings East, when the robbers walked in about 7.30pm.
Apparently armed with a rifle and a knife, they demanded and were given a sum of cash before fleeing in a robbery police say was similar to that at Racecourse Takeaways, on the corner of Railway Rd and Gascoigne St, south of the city centre, about the same time the previous Sunday.
Ms Kaur said her son was back at school yesterday and at the shop last night.
It was the first robbery at the shop in the five years she had been the proprietor, she said.
It was the third robbery of small businesses in Napier and Hastings in seven days. On Tuesday last week, staff preparing for the opening of a takeaway shop in Napier's Maraenui Shopping Centre were robbed by a group of young people.
Hawke's Bay CIB head Detective Senior Sergeant Dave de Lange said the robberies carried little hope of gain yet could carry penalties of up to 14 years in jail, or more if they went wrong.
"These crimes involving the use of weapons carry a high risk of harm to people if something was to go wrong," he said. The offenders were committing "serious crimes" on small businesses which did not carry much cash, he said.
The offenders in the latest raid had their faces covered but appeared to be Maori or Polynesian and of solid build.
No arrests were understood to have been made by last night in relation to the robbery a week earlier, which also involved two people thought to be armed with a gun and a knife, while there had also been no arrests in relation to the midweek incident in Napier.
The robberies follow a familiar late-winter to spring pattern in Hawke's Bay.
According to Hawke's Bay Today files, there were four robberies of small businesses, with weapons, in two months from mid-July to mid-September last year. Three were dairies.
Police were last night seeking any information about the latest robberies, including suspicious movements of people and vehicles around the targets and similar types of businesses.
If you have any information, please contact your nearest police station, or phone Hastings Police on 873 0500 \or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.