A robber carrying a knife tripped and fell as he fled with the entire till from an Otumoetai dairy.
A man wielding a "sizeable" knife robbed Viking Dairy on the corner of Otumoetai and Grange roads around 4.30pm yesterday, after loitering around the premises for some time.
Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner said a solid male in black clothing had been hanging around the dairy, looking through the windows and entering and leaving once.
"He came back when the dairy was empty and produced a sizeable knife and grabbed the till and ran.
"We believe he got into a silver car driven by someone else and they headed into town on Grange Rd," Mr Turner said.
He said the dairy owners were unhurt but traumatised by the robbery.
The man was seen running past the row of shops next to the dairy with the till in his arms.
The Hair Lounge owner Wendy Booth was just getting ready to cut a customer's hair when she saw the man sprint past.
She heard yelling and saw a flash of the man go past her window.
"I ran straight out and saw the guy running across the road.
"Then he fell over, the cord of the cash register wrapped around his ankle and he hit the deck," Booth said.
The man kept hold of the till and jumped back up and into the waiting car, she said.
"I just thought it was some kid making off with some lollies but it's pretty serious."
The man was tall and solidly built: "I wouldn't have tried to stop him.
"They don't muck around, it's quite scary."
She said it was "nerve-racking" for other shop owners.
"You wonder if they are going to come back."
Turner said police were investigating the robbery and would be reviewing CCTV footage.
"We are interested in anyone that might have been in area, seen that car or any males acting suspiciously.
"It's always concerning when we have any form of robbery but especially when weapons are used with the intent for serious injury is quite close," Turner said.