Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Police hunt for masked man who robbed Whakatane dairy

Police describe the man as Maori, in his mid-20s, wearing a blue hoodie and black pants. Photo / File
Police describe the man as Maori, in his mid-20s, wearing a blue hoodie and black pants. Photo / File

Police in Whakatane are hunting a knife-wielding man who attempted to rob a local dairy this afternoon.

With a black towel covering his face, the man - thought to be in his mid-twenties - ran into the Allandale Superette on King St at about 2.40pm.

The shop owner and his wife, who asked not to be named, said the would-be robber pointed the knife at both of them.

The woman told the Herald the man yelled at them.

"One guy came in with a knife. He tried to demand for money. [He said]: 'Money! Put money in the bag!"'

The couple refused to give him anything and when he turned the knife on the female shop owner, her husband took the chance to make his own move.

"He turned the knife to me and then that gave the chance to my husband to get a bar behind [the counter]."

The couple yelled at the man to leave.

He fled the shop with nothing and was seen by members of the public making his getaway on a bicycle that had been parked outside.

The woman said they had had similar incidents in the past, but had made security moves within their shop to raise the alarm with authorities in the event of an emergency.

"It was so scary. I rang 111 straight away, but I couldn't speak up because I was scared," she said.

Police are appealing for any sightings of the offender, who was seen riding his bike down nearby Olympic Drive before entering the shop.

After leaving the store, he was then seen riding his bike down the same road towards a nearby lake.

He is described as a Maori in his mid-twenties. He was wearing a blue hooded jumper and black pants at the time, as well as covering his face with a black towel.

• Can you help? Anyone with information should contact Whakatane Police on: (07) 308 5255 or CrimeStoppers anonymous on: 0800 555 111.

- Newstalk ZB

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