"Thrill-seeking" thieves are committing increasingly brazen ram raids on Auckland shops that are in danger of becoming repeat targets for "audacious" young burglars.
The latest victim of yesterday's daring blitz says it is concerned about the increase in incidents in Auckland and is upping security following the early morning attack.
Security and cleaning staff were put into peril as three stolen vehicles smashed into east Auckland's Ormiston Town Centre shopping centre about 1.10am yesterday, police say.
Electronic items and clothing were among the goods stolen by the group, who fled in two of the cars.
CCTV footage shows vehicles speeding through the mall as a separate group ran after them. In one part of the footage, a car knocks over a large table.
The footage also shows the vehicles parked outside the Noel Leeming where people can be seen loading items into the cars.
A man at the scene yesterday morning said empty iPad and microwave oven boxes were strewn outside the Noel Leeming store and that shattered glass was everywhere.
A Postie worker spoken to by the Herald said damage to the store was minimal, and they believed those involved may have mistaken the shop's red branding for the technology and appliance shop next door.
"Just our door [was damaged], they must have thought we were Noel Leeming."
The stores are beside each other on the Bellingham Rd side of the mall.
Dr Lisa Tompson, senior lecturer at Waikato University's Te Puna Haumaru (the NZ Institute of Security and Crime Science) said there had been a lot of ram-raids recently, especially in Auckland, and the tactics being used were becoming more audacious.
The Ormiston centre was also ram-raided three weeks ago.
Purvi Killa, owner of Christies Jewellery, said thousands of dollars worth of product was taken and the store damaged in a ram-raid earlier in the month.
Speaking about yesterday's incident, Killa said: "It's quite scary. We were all shocked."
Killa said a security guard had told her around 16 young people were involved in yesterday's raid.
Tompson said she wasn't surprised the centre had been robbed again but that the tactics being used were "quite concerning".
"One of the things that we know is that once a location or a store has been victimised once, they're actually at a much greater risk of being revictimised in the period immediately following so it's not a surprise they have targeted this mall again, especially if they have been successful previously."
"This is modus operandi that's been dormant for quite some time until it has come to a point where the offenders clearly think the rewards outweigh the risks involved. There must be an element of thrill-seeking involved.
"From an offenders' perspective, it doesn't it get much [better] than what they did in terms of the thrills involved."
The Ormiston attack on Tuesday morning was the latest in a string of ram raids across New Zealand.
In the Bay of Plenty, Pāpāmoa Four Square was also ram-raided early on Tuesday morning. Police received a report of a burglary around 4.30am.
Other businesses that have been the victims of similar robberies this month include Titirangi's Scenic Dairy on April 10, the Louis Vuitton and Gucci stores on Queen St on April 11, a Four Square in Te Aroha on April 11 and a cafe and service station in Whanganui on April 20.
Earlier in the month, Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers said Police national intelligence showed 88 per cent of ram-raid offenders were under 20 years old, with the majority actually under 17.
Tompson said bollards were the "de facto, go-to option" for preventing ram-raids but many businesses, especially small businesses, would struggle to afford them.
"They're not cheap but as far as I can tell in the research literature they are one of the most effective things to prevent ram raids."
National leader Christopher Luxon said yesterday the spike in ram-raids across Auckland was "devastating" for the businesses targeted.
"I'm shocked and saddened to see this despicable criminal behaviour in Botany," Luxon, who is the MP for Botany, said.
A spokesperson for Ormiston Town Centre said no one was injured during the ordeal.
"The centre owners are concerned about the increase in incidents across Auckland and are increasing security measures at the centre."
"We are working with police who are making inquiries into the incident."
Police appealed to anyone with information to contact them on 105, quoting P050366870 or to contact Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.