Robber hunt - in jail

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THE SCENE: Zabeels Sports Bar in Hastings, which was robbed on July 2. Police have arrested one man and think another may be hiding out, in jail. PHOTO/FILE
THE SCENE: Zabeels Sports Bar in Hastings, which was robbed on July 2. Police have arrested one man and think another may be hiding out, in jail. PHOTO/FILE

Police are hoping they won't have far to go find a second person alleged to have robbed a Hastings bar more than three months ago.

Detective Sergeant Craig Vining, of the Hawke's Bay CIB Crime Squad, said the offender wanted for the robbery of Zabeel's in central Hastings on July 7 and possibly that almost four weeks later of the Horse and Hound bar is thought to be a current inmate of Hawke's Bay Prison.

Police have already arrested one person alleged to have been the "shorter" of two offenders in the 9.30am Tuesday Zabeel's raid.

That person, aged 43 and charged with aggravated robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years' jail, is currently remanded in custody to appear in Hastings District Court again on December 15.

Mr Vining said evidence available to police indicates the "larger" of the two robbers was also involved in the late Saturday Horse and Hound robbery, and has gang affiliations.

Police are now working with prison staff to corroborate information and identify people who have been imprisoned since the raid.

Police are still trying to identify a third person involved in the Zabeel's robbery, as a getaway driver at the wheel of a maroon early-1990s Mazda Familia.

"Police will continue to follow enquiries until all the persons responsible have been identified and held to account through the courts; particularly given the level of violence used during the robberies and the affect the offending had on the victims," Mr Vining said.

The robberies were part of the most prolific spate of dairy, service station and bar holdups ever in Hawke's Bay, with almost 20 raids targeting cigarettes reported since more tobacco-product price rises were confirmed in the Government's Budget 2016 announcement in the last week of May.

While others have been arrested, police are still seeking information, including details of people selling possibly stolen cigarettes or tobacco.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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