Police are investigating the snatch of $300 left on the counter at Zodiac Dairy in Hastings, near Splash Planet on Jellicoe Rd.
The money was inadvertently left at the counter at about 10am today, at an opening to the service area of the Mayfair business.
Jaskaran Singh said at the time it was assumed the male walked to the area of the counter where the cash was to take a pie from the pie warmer. Not until later was it noticed that the money was missing.
He was surprised a local customer would steal from the Mayfair business, which has not had a serious incident since 2012.
"They are all pretty good around here - we've only had the one armed robbery," he said.
He said police planned to review video footage of the opportunistic $300 snatch.
There have been at least 17 robberies from Hawke's Bay businesses since May, mainly targeting cigarettes.