Destructive ram raiders caused thousands of dollars of damage to two Northland businesses all for a handful of items including a $12 bottle of wine.
Police have released security camera images of two men involved in the early morning ram raids 28 minutes apart, first at Tikipunga and then at Parua Bay yesterday.A car stolen from Ōtangarei about midnight was used to smash the front doors of GAS Tikipunga about 4.05am and then ram glass doors at Parua Bay Four Square at 4.33am.
The car was a white Subaru Legacy with a registration number of KPB477 and was later found dumped on Whareora Rd on the outskirts of Whangārei.
Head of the investigation Detective Sergeant Josh Lautogo said the car was seized by police and has undergone a forensic examination.
"These hardworking business owners are having to pay out thousands of dollars for damage," Lautogo said.
The amount of property stolen from both businesses was minimal and included a bottle of wine.
Police described the first male in the security footage as wearing a grey puffer jacket with a blue bandanna over his face. He was wearing white gloves, white shirt, khaki shorts and white shoes. He also had a camo bum bag.
The second male also had a blue bandanna covering his face, green gloves, grey camo shorts, and was wearing black/grey Nike Airmax shoes. He was carrying a blue and grey coloured backpack.
The manager at GAS Tikipunga said they opened the service station as usual at 6am yesterday. While the raiders did not manage to get anything the damage was an inconvenience and unnecessary cost.
"They didn't get anything but they just gave us loads of trouble with the front door and windows smashed," he said.
The case was similar for the owners of Parua Bay Four Square who opened for business but had to arrange for the doors and glass to be repaired.
"It could have been much worse. They didn't manage to get anything big so we are lucky," she said.
It is not the first time GAS Tikipunga has been targeted. Last October a robber wielding a stripped green stick and wearing a pink sock on his right hand along with another with a knife threatened staff and stole cigarettes from the service station.
The cigarettes from the cabinet behind the counter were stuffed into a blue backpack. The men threatened the male staff member and told him to "stay back". A second staff member who appeared from the office area was also threatened.
In February there was a ram raid in central Whangārei at Global Diamonds. A stolen Wrangler Jeep was used to smash the front doors of the jewellery business but in the process a security fog cannon was activated.
Pendants, watches and coins were taken from display cabinets before the jeep was driven off then dumped at a nearby high school.
Police arrested four people, the youngest of the quartet is 17-year-old Luke Patrick Gurnick, of Otaika, who is charged with unlawfully entering Global Diamonds on January 8, and unlawfully taking a Jeep Wrangler valued at $46,000 from a Ngunguru property on February 7.
He is jointly charged with Hayden Lewis Jones, 21, of Kamo, Keeley Jordan Scott, a fisheries worker of Mangonui and Jake Gent, from Nukutawhiti, 51km northwest of Whangārei. They all appear in court next month.
And earlier this year a van was used in the ram raid of the Waimamaku Four Square supermarket to smash through the front doors before a small amount of tobacco products were taken. However police caught up with a man who is now going though the court process.
If you can help police with the latest ram raids at Tikipunga and Parua Bay contact Lautogo at Whangārei police station on 09 430 4500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.