Masterton man charged over shotgun raid

By Kelli Hooks

IN CUSTODY: Maia Rongonui has been arrested and charged in Napier following a hold up at a Caltex service station in Masterton.
IN CUSTODY: Maia Rongonui has been arrested and charged in Napier following a hold up at a Caltex service station in Masterton.

Police have arrested and charged the man they believe held up a Masterton service station wearing a Halloween mask and brandishing a sawn-off shotgun.

Maia Rongonui, 24, of Masterton, is accused of going into the Caltex service station, in Solway, on November 11, just after 9.30pm, and aiming a single barrel shotgun at the woman teller, who was the only one working at the time.

It is alleged he repeatedly demanded cash but she refused to give him the money so he eventually gave up and left empty-handed.

The teller was unharmed.

Rongonui, who moves between Masterton and Napier, was arrested by police in Napier on November 25, after Masterton police circulated Rongonui as wanted.

He has been charged with assault with intent to rob with a firearm, which carries of maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

Detective sergeant Barry Bysouth said investigations were ongoing and there were a number of other people police still wanted to interview.

"There are a number of other leads we're following and other people we need to talk to.

"From a police point of view, our aim for the community is to prevent any kind of criminal offending.

"Offending of this nature, with a firearm against members of the public, is extremely serious and our response to this particular type of crime is proportionate to the level of violence used during the commission of the offence."

Mr Bysouth said the firearm, police believe was a single barrel sawn-off shotgun, was yet to be recovered.

Rongonui will appear in Napier District Court on December 11.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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