Aggravated robbery denied

By Mike Dinsdale

Wipatene Tihema pleaded not guilty in Whangarei District Court.
Wipatene Tihema pleaded not guilty in Whangarei District Court.

A man accused of the aggravated robbery of a Whangarei Post and Lotto shop has pleaded not guilty.

Wipatene Mathew Tihema, 22, appeared in Whangarei District Court on Monday charged with the aggravated robbery of the Otaika Lotto and Post Shop on Otaika Rd about 4.30pm on February 14.

Tihema entered a not guilty plea and elected trial by jury. Judge John McDonald remanded Tihema in custody to reappear in court on May 12.

Two masked men carrying a firearm entered the Otaika Lotto and Post Shop on Otaika Rd about 4.30pm on February 14. There were three staff and members of the public in the shop, police say.

The men took cash and then left on foot through a walkway towards nearby Ashley Ave. A stolen vehicle linked to the robbery was quickly found by police and Tihema was arrested the following day. Police are still looking for a second person believed to have been involved in the robbery.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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