A brazen crime rampage has ripped through Hamilton after seven offenders stole cars and robbed shops threatening employees with a hammer and a crowbar.
The masked group of six men and one woman robbed a dairy and a liquor store in two stolen cars around 7pm on Saturday evening. A dairy owner was left shaken and injured after the thieves struck his head with a "crowbar type weapon", Waikato Police Senior Sergeant Greg Foster said.
"Everyone is obviously shaken up.
"It is brazen and unacceptable and we need to catch up with these people to prevent them from committing further offences and creating more victims."
Foster said the crime spree started when a blue Mazda Demio - DZC148 - was stolen on Friday evening from Frankton and a black Mazda Familia - ECR885 - was stolen from the Chartwell area.
Then at 4pm on Saturday the occupants from the Mazda Demio entered a Frankton motorcycle store and stole masks.
At 6.15pm both cars parked outside a liquor store and a dairy on Whatawhata Rd. The occupants entered the two shops leaving a driver in each car behind.
Three offenders entered a dairy and struck the worker with the crowbar-type weapon as they stole cigarettes and cash, Foster said. The worker suffered a moderate head injury that required medical treatment.
At the same time two other offenders stole liquor and cash from the liquor store while wielding a hammer. They did not hit anyone though. Foster believed they were all wearing the masks that had previously been stolen.
"Then they've all run back into their two vehicles and have driven eastbound towards Lake Rd.
"The vehicles haven't been recovered and we would like any members of the public who see them to call police on 111."
Foster warned members of the public not to approach the vehicles or the people in the vehicles.
Foster said police did not know the identity of the offenders at this stage. He believed there was a good chance the cars were still driving around west Hamilton. Police would be inspecting CCTV footage.