A man who allegedly robbed an Upper Hutt pharmacy two times in a week came back for a third attempt last night - and has now been arrested.
Co-owner of Queen St Pharmacy Brooke McKay said members of the public had been offering to stand guard outside the business after news they had been the victims of two aggravated robberies - one on Sunday October 7, and another last Saturday.
In the first incident the alleged robber had a large knife, and the second incident he had a craft knife.
McKay said the man stole benzodiazepine medication on each occasion.
"It's like an anxiety med but it's heavily abused on the streets," she said.
CCTV footage showed the man showing up to the back entrance of the building last night just before 7pm, stumbling at one point, with the lower half of his face covered. He tried the door before leaving.
"He's obviously high and drunk out of his brains," McKay said.
"He tried that door, the pharmacist spotted him, locked all the pharmacy doors and then he left."
At 8.20pm police arrested a 29-year-old in the Totara Park area. He has been charged with two counts of aggravated robbery, and one attempted aggravated robbery.
Investigations had at that point already established positive lines of inquiry as to a suspect.
While McKay was "pretty stoked" he'd been caught, she and the staff were "over it, that's for sure".
"Now we're having to redo all the security."
She said the staff who had been present during the robberies were "doing pretty well, considering".
"I'm just waiting to hear back from some counselling services."
She would put group meetings in place to help staff work through their stress from the incidents.
"They are pretty shaken. We've got five staff in witness support at the moment."
It was "so unusual" for them to be robbed - McKay said this had never happened at their pharmacy before.
After the first time, "everyone told us it would never happen again".
"And I'm like 'sweet, I'm up to my third'."
The community had been "great" in offering support to the pharmacy, dropping in baking and chocolate "and offering to stand out and be security".
They were "all pretty stoked" he had been caught, "but now we have to ensure that we put processes in place and it doesn't happen again.
Hutt Valley Police area prevention manager Inspector James McKay confirmed police had arrested a man for the robberies, and that he would be appearing in court today.
"It was just a great co-ordinated police effort in line with assistance with staff of the pharmacy," he said.
Police are offering ongoing support to the staff.
"Aggravated robberies are vicious crimes and are incredibly traumatic for the victims involved.
"We hope this shows the community that police do not tolerate this type of offending and we are committed to making sure people are held accountable for their actions."