Halloween robber

By Anna Ferrick

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Pictured is CCTV footage from the Caltex petrol station in Masterton, where Rongonui brandished a shotgun while wearing a Halloween mask.
Pictured is CCTV footage from the Caltex petrol station in Masterton, where Rongonui brandished a shotgun while wearing a Halloween mask.

A man who attempted to rob a Masterton petrol station wielding a sawn-off shotgun and wearing a Halloween mask has relocated to Hawke's Bay, where he has committed a string of burglaries.

Maia Rongonui, 24, appeared in the Napier District Court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted aggravated robbery, nine counts of burglary and five of interfering with a motor vehicle.

A summary of facts said Rongonui sat outside the Caltex petrol station in Masterton on the evening of November 11 last year, observing the forecourt.

He sent and received a number of text messages, discussing with an associate how many people were still present at the petrol station as it was about it close.

Rongonui then entered the petrol station in a "witch-type mask" and carrying a sawn-off shotgun.

He brandished it at the teller and demanded money from her.

The teller refused to give him any cash and he moved toward her, aiming the shotgun within an inch of her chest, and made the demand again.

She continued to refuse and Rongonui left the store.

The summary said the victim was not physically injured but had been traumatised by the event.

Rongonui also pleaded guilty to a number of burglaries.

Beginning on October 18 in Levin, Rongonui burgled properties throughout Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay.

He took items including a .22 rifle, chainsaws, jewellery and computers.

On November 22 last year, Rongonui was in the Whakatu area looking for properties to break into and items to steal.

He entered a number of properties looking for items of value, before stealing a car and driving to Waipawa.

Again he began entering properties and searching for items.

He located a .22 rifle and a chainsaw, which he loaded into the back of the stolen vehicle before driving to the Dannevirke Golf Club and entering a farm shed.

Inside he found another two chainsaws, which he placed in the boot.

He was confronted by a staff member who noticed the items in the car and quickly leaned in to grab the keys, prompting Rongonui to run off across a paddock.

After running a short distance he found a car parked on Tamaki River Rd with the keys in the ignition. He continued south in the car he had taken and burgled another property in Feilding, taking items of jewellery and a laptop.

Throughout the spree, Rongonui was in constant text contact with an associate providing him with a blow by blow account of what he had done and what he intended to do with the property.

He was eventually apprehended and spoken to by police on December 12. Yesterday in court he was remanded in custody to reappear for sentencing in February.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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