Two convenience store workers pelted a would-be robber with tin cans after he brandished two planks of wood and demanded cash and cigarettes.
The balaclava-clad man entered through the back door of the Crazy Clearance and Convenience Store on Cameron Rd as staff were opening the shop about 7.20am yesterday. The store manager, who refused to be named, said the man ran in the back door holding two pieces of wood about 5cm thick and 1.5m long under his arms.
"He was demanding the money saying, 'Give me the money, give me the money'," he said. "He was trying to open the cigarette cabinet but everything was closed because we were still opening."
Another staff member was at the rear of the shop when the drama unfolded and locked the back door to prevent the man escaping.
The manager was near the front door carrying a display stand and yelled for help.
With one person on either side of the man, the pair then pelted him with cans and other stock.
The manager tried to use the display stand to defend himself after the man attacked him.
"I tried to protect myself and I was trying to hit him with the stand and he got angry," he said.
"He smashed me with the stick and it broke in half. He had a longer stick and he was faster than me."
The man also smashed a computer screen in his frustration before escaping empty-handed out the front door and running down a nearby alleyway.
The manager was later taken to hospital for a checkup but was discharged soon after and left with a bruised and sore back.
The attack left him shaken and adamant about the importance of staff not being alone in stores.
"There should always be two people in most of the shops. It's not good safety for the shopkeepers [to be alone]."
Witness David Mackenzie was driving along Cameron Rd toward the city when he saw a man with a piece of wood run out of the store.
"His mannerisms and the way he was standing when he came out of the dairy and the way he bolted looked quite suspicious. My instant reaction was, 'this looks like a robbery'."
The man ran off through alleys between 10th and 11th avenues heading towards the city. He was last seen running down 11th Ave near the Mad Butcher.
The man is described as skinny, wearing a black balaclava, a large baggy camouflage jacket with a hood, black combat boots and blue skinny jeans.
Call police on (07) 577 4300 or anonymously call Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111 if you have information.
For more articles from this region, go to BAY OF PLENTY TIMES