Armed gang on loose after seven robberies

By Andrew Koubaridis

The robbers have been disguised and used stolen cars for their attacks on South Auckland businesses. Photo / Supplied
The robbers have been disguised and used stolen cars for their attacks on South Auckland businesses. Photo / Supplied

A gang of heavily armed robbers are targeting South Auckland businesses, say police, using pistols, axes, knives and a World War II-era rifle.

The same people are likely to be behind seven aggravated robberies over a month in Otahuhu, Otara and East Tamaki where a large amount of money was taken.

In each case the thieves were disguised and used a variety of weapons - including the Lee Enfield rifle, a black pistol, a knife and a small axe.

Detective Sergeant John Love, of Counties Manukau Police major crime team, said the first robbery happened on June 14 and the last was a month later.

It's believed between four and seven people are involved.

"The weapons used and circumstances indicate we're looking at the same people," Mr Love said.

"It's a crew who have gone on a bit of a roll and generally they don't stop unless they get caught, so we want to try and stop them."

Although there hadn't been any robberies since July 14 police were appealing to the public to help identify the people responsible.

"There hasn't been anything in the area these guys have been operating - which is very localised - or the rest of the Auckland region that is similar, but they have got a lot of money though so maybe they're just sitting quiet at the moment."

He couldn't confirm how much was taken other than to say, "they've done all right out of these robberies".

No one had been seriously hurt but Mr Love said that could change. In one case a woman had a gun held to her head and was manhandled.

"They get more and more brave as they get on ... someone will get hurt."

Mr Love said someone connected to the robbers would recognise the rifle used and urged them to get in touch with the police.

The helmet used in the July 14 raid was distinctive and one of the culprits during the June 14 incident had a tattoo on his lower leg.

A number of stolen vehicles were used in the raids.

THE SOUTH AUCKLAND ROBBERIES FILE

* June 14 at 7:50pm at the TAB in Otahuhu.
* June 22 at 5:30pm at Kiwibank, Dawson Rd, Otara.
* June 23 at 4:30pm at Kiwibank, Great South Rd, Otahuhu.
* June 27 at 7:12pm at Gracie's Place in Queen St, Otahuhu.
* July 2 at 10:18am at the TAB in Ormiston Rd, East Tamaki.
* July 7 at 10:10am at the Wanderers Bar in East Tamaki.
* July 14 at 11:25 am at the Junction Bar, Springs Rd, East Tamaki.

* If you have any information that could help police, contact Mr Love on 09 262 9173 or Detective Michael Bushell on 09 262 9112 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- NZ Herald

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