The group charged with the aggravated robbery of a South Auckland dairy where a man allegedly had a knife held to his neck are back out in the community.
They were released on bail by a District Court judge just hours after their arrest.
The males aged 17, 18 and 20 were all arrested last Friday after the alleged robbery at the Kingsford Superette in Mangere on May 16.
A fourth offender was arrested and appeared in the Youth Court.
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During the incident four males wearing hoods entered into the superette, allegedly armed with machetes.
Police arrested the 17 and 20-year-olds last Thursday night.
The other arrests followed the next morning.
All four appeared in the Manukau District Court and were remanded on bail.
It is understood police opposed bail for all four alleged offenders.
However, they were released back into the community soon after their appearance.
Police could not comment as the matter was before the courts.
A source said that none of the four alleged offenders had been before the courts before.
"It was the first appearance for all of them," said the source.
"That was one of the worst aggravated robberies I have ever seen. It's ridiculous."
Earlier in the week police launched the 'there's nothing good about stolen goods' in response to the steady stream of aggravated robberies at dairies, service stations and other small retailers.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush revealed to the Herald at the time that alongside new robbery-specific taskforces and throwing more staff onto foot patrols to thwart thieves, cash rewards would also be offered.
"To our small business owners, I say: We are there for you," he said.
"We care deeply about robbery victims.
"Dedicated and resourceful police staff are working tirelessly to make you safer and help achieve justice should the worst happen.
"We can't put an officer on permanent guard outside every dairy or liquor store but we are putting many extra resources on to the streets."
Bush said police had partnered with Crimestoppers on the campaign, which would run for a month initially.
"I ask all our communities up and down New Zealand to stand with us against violent crime and report any suspicious behaviour, no matter how insignificant it seems," he pleaded.
"This is not a problem police can solve alone.
"Our mission remains for New Zealand to be the safest country - and by working together in our communities we can achieve it."