Hastings shoppers and staff were sent into “panic mode” after a spate of break-ins and burglaries.
On Sunday, retailers on Heretaunga St West witnessed both a daylight burglary and a nighttime robbery about 12 hours after, while earlier Flaxmere Pharmacy was the victim of an attempted break-in that left their glass store door smashed.
THE JEWELLERY HEIST
Police are searching for those behind a burglary of the Michael Hill store in Hastings.
Detective Sergeant Darren Pritchard said a stolen grey Nissan Tiida drove up onto the footpath and parked outside the Michael Hill store about 2.15pm.
“Three people have exited the vehicle and forced entry to the store, while one person remained in the vehicle. Two staff members were working at the time who locked themselves in the back room of the shop,” Pritchard said.
“The offenders have spent less than a minute in the store, using a hammer to smash glass cabinets and take several items, before getting back into the vehicle and leaving.”
A video taken by a witness shows the heist in action, which EB Games staff member Brylee Nilsson said she witnessed from across the road and called police.
“We originally thought that it was just a false alarm ... until we heard smashing.”
“I saw someone across the road come out of Michael Hill Jeweller who was fully clothed in black, black mask over their face, glasses, and they were holding what kind of looked like a gun with a blanket over it, but I don’t think that was what it was.”
She said she was worried because there were eight people, including several kids, inside her store, the busiest time of the day.
“It was panic mode, so I slammed my doors shut. [I decided] I’m locking up, I’m keeping all the kids to the back of the store in case it was a gun.”
“We are all quite close-knit on this block so we are all quite worried about it.”
On Monday morning a police officer and police cameraman were outside the store photographing the scene, while staff members stood by.
Inside the store, many of the glass display cases were smashed, while jewellery was scattered across the floor.
A police spokesperson said the offenders’ vehicle was found abandoned on Waipuna St, Mahora, not long after the burglary.
Detective Sergeant Pritchard said they were also asking for the public to share any information which may assist, including video.
PETROL STATION ROBBERY, THEN A CRASH
About 12 hours later, two teens who had initially fled from police in a car after a robbery at the Z Hastings service station on Heretaunga St West, then crashed on St Georges Rd a short time after.
A police spokeswoman said a 64-year-old woman had been charged with entered the service station and demanding cash and other items.
“She has then fled on foot, passing items to people in a vehicle as she left.”
An officer then spotted the vehicle the stolen items were allegedly passed to, which was also reported stolen, and signalled for it to stop.
The vehicle fled and police did not pursue it, but they were able to locate it with the help of the public a short time later when it crashed with four youths inside about 4.15am.
“Two of the occupants were taken to hospital to receive medical attention, and two others were taken into custody,” the police spokeswoman said.
Firefighters helped pull one person out and two people were taken in a serious condition to Hawke’s Bay Hospital. A female in her teens was being assessed in hospital about 10.45am on Monday, while a male in his teens was still in a serious condition.
All four youths will be referred to Youth Services.
A Z spokeswoman said only a small number of products were taken during the robbery.
“Fortunately, our site staff member was unharmed and they were able to successfully activate the fog cannon, which led to the offender leaving the site, " she said.
Meanwhile, just after midnight, on Sunday, Flaxmere Pharmacy caught a person on camera smashing the glass of their front door with what appears to be a hammer.
A video shows them breaking open a hole and crouch down into it, before suddenly standing up and leaving on a push scooter.
Flaxmere Pharmacy co-owner Reuben Horn said he was first to arrive on the scene at about 4am.
“Something has spooked the fella so, fortunately, we haven’t lost any stock,” Horn said.
He said incidents like this unnecessarily tied up staff, police and glazier resources when they were needed most by the community after an event like Cyclone Gabrielle.
“From our perspective as a health care provider it is hard enough to get staff, it is hard enough to be providing health care, let alone to be dealing with crime at the same time,” he said.
A police spokeswoman said they had attended and were making inquiries.