The worst nightmare of my life.
That's how a 65-year-old Whangarei woman described seeing a gun-toting robber demanding money from a teller at the Kensington Stationers on Tuesday morning.
She is a regular customer at the business that also doubles as a PostShop and Kiwibank and had just arrived to bank money into her account when she witnessed an aggravated robbery about 10.40am.
The robbers made off with an undisclosed amount of cash and police are still searching for the trio.
"I was in there for about five seconds and had my wallet and card out ready to bank my rent money.
"I was second in the queue when all of a sudden it went crazy. My first instinct when everyone was yelling was to run and I hide. I squatted down on the floor,'' the woman, who did not want to be named, said.
"Three men all in black clothing went up to the lady and started yelling 'hand over the money, hand over the money'.
"I saw one of them pointing something at the lady behind the counter."
She sat on the floor and closed her eyes.
"I sat there. I was so scared. I've never been through something like that before."
When she opened her eyes she saw the woman behind the counter collapse and her initial thought was she had been shot.
"She must have fainted and hit the floor," she said.
The trio in black then ran out the door.
"The police started turning up. I couldn't believe how fast they got there."
The woman said she went into the neighbouring chemist and staff in there were hiding behind the counter and shelves.
She was spoken to by police shortly after they had cordoned off the scene and began a search for the stolen silver-coloured Holden Commodore, registration AUH729, the men were seen fleeing in.
"They are like family to me the people in that shop. They know me by name and they are the nicest people."
The woman said she had moved to Whangarei six years ago to escape a violent relationship.
"This was the worst nightmare of my live."
Police continued to investigate and said a number of interesting witnesses had come forward yesterday after reading the story in the Northern Advocate.
Detective Sergeant Chris Rumens said no arrests had been made but he urged members of the public who may have seen any suspicious activity around the Kensington area between 10.20am and 10.50am to contact police.
He said if anyone was in the area during that time and had a dash camera in their car that may have captured the stolen car police would be interested in hearing from them.
If you can help police contact Whangarei police station 09 430 4500 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.