Ruakaka shopkeeper back at work after shotgun robbery

By Mike Dinsdale of the Northern Advocate -
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File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

Just hours after having a shotgun pointed at her head when a robber demanded cash and tobacco, a Ruakaka shopkeeper was back at work serving customers and trying to put the frightening ordeal behind her.

The woman, who does not want to be named, was just about to close up the Oasis Store in Bream Bay Drive, Ruakaka, about 7.30pm on Saturday, when a man walked into the store carrying a shotgun.

The man pointed the gun at the woman's head and demanded she give him all the cash and as many cigarettes and tobacco products as she could fit in a bag he gave her.

The ordeal was captured on CCTV and was all over in less than 40 seconds. But it felt like much longer than that for the woman, who was alone in the store at the time.

She was back at work first thing yesterday, saying she and her husband, who have owned the business for about six years, had to keep going but the robbery had made a big dent in their confidence and takings.

"I was just about to close when the man came in and pointed the gun at my head. He yelled at me to give him all the money, and we had all the day's takings in there, and all the cigarettes and tobacco," she said.

"It was very frightening and I tried to keep telling myself to keep calm. He kept saying 'hurry up' and said 'don't make me have to use this [gun]'. He wasn't swearing or anything like that, but I was scared and I put money and cigarettes and tobacco in his bag and he ran out of the door and into a waiting car.

The man in the car was also yelling to hurry up and honked the horn at him too."

A stationwagon, possibly silver, was waiting outside with a getaway driver and its engine running.

The woman called police, who arrived 15-20 minutes' later, but the robbers were not found.

She said the robbery had upset many people in the area.

She urged anybody who knows who the robbers are, or who may have seen any suspicious activity around the store on Saturday evening, to contact police so the men were caught, as she did not want another store worker to go through the same trauma.

The man who robbed the store was wearing a dark-coloured hoodie and beanie, grey camouflage shorts, and white and black or blue sports shoes. He was unshaven.

Please ring Whangarei police on (09) 430 4500 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with information.

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