Whangarei police are investigating a serious assault on a man in his 60s yesterday, possibly linked to the aggravated robbery of a liquor store the night before.
Detective Sergeant Dave Wilkinson said police were following a number of leads after the man was struck with a weapon multiple times at a Cairnfield Rd, Otangarei address around 4am yesterday.
The man was taken to hospital with moderate injuries. Detective Wilkinson said the man's relationship, if any, to his assailant or assailants was unclear at this stage and police would not comment on the type of weapon used.
Mr Wilkinson said police were trying to establish whether the assault was linked to the aggravated robbery of Tikipunga Super Liquor on Kiripaka Rd, that happened about 9.30pm on Wednesday.
Three offenders, well disguised in hoodies, entered the store "carrying a number of weapons" and demanded cash, cigarettes and alcohol. The robbery was recorded on CCTV and it was unclear whether the offenders left on foot or in a car, he said.
Again Mr Wilkinson would not be drawn on the type of weapons used in the robbery or the finer details of what was taken, saying it could compromise the investigation. A woman working at Tikipunga Super Liquor yesterday declined to comment on the robbery.
It was not the first time the store had been targeted by robbers. In May 2014 the same store was held up at gunpoint by two men in black clothing. The attendant working during the 2014 robbery said at the time that he feared for his life as the aggressive offenders marched him around the counter and demanded he open the till.
Yesterday police were making inquiries at a number of addresses in areas near Otangarei and Tikipunga. Late yesterday they were still searching for three suspects.
"We're asking for assistance from the public with either incident," Mr Wilkinson said.
He said police would like to hear about any suspicious activity near the Tikipunga shops on Kiripaka Rd around 9.30pm Wednesday or overnight on Cairnfield Rd.
- Informants could ring Whangarei CIB on 430 4500 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.