The Rahotu Four Square is looking a bit worse for wear after being hit by a tornado and ram-raided all in one week.

The coastal Taranaki store had its roof partially ripped off after a tornado ripped through the small township on Tuesday morning.

The shop was damaged further this morning after a group of offenders drove a stolen vehicle through the store's front doors before taking off with cigarettes and tobacco.

The car was left there while the culprits got away in another vehicle.


The stolen car used in the ram raid was owned by Okato resident Liz Richardson, whose house was burgled by the offenders while her partner and one-year-old slept.

Four Square owner Dipal Desai said she had lost three days of business this week but she was not too stressed about the whole situation - aiming to open for business on Friday afternoon.

"It's just a challenge to face ... We will clean it all up this afternoon and just have to move on.

"People are really friendly and we have a lot of community support."

New Plymouth police sergeant Bruce Irvine said the culprits broke into two Okato houses and stole three vehicles before heading south to Rahotu in the early hours of the morning, where they reversed a vehicle into the Four Square.

No arrests have been made, although two of the three vehicles have been recovered.

"We believe it's all linked and it's the same group of offenders," Irvine said.

Police had forensic teams investigating the crime scenes and making further inquiries.

Rahuto Four Square owner Dipal Desai surveys the damage and the losses. Photo / Alice Chowdrey
Rahuto Four Square owner Dipal Desai surveys the damage and the losses. Photo / Alice Chowdrey

Okato resident Liz Richardson said she was out for dinner last night but realised the car was gone when she got home.

Her partner and one-year-old were asleep at time and, after waking her partner, they realised valuables had been taken including a computer, phone wallet and sets of keys.

The offenders had entered through a back door and left wet footprints everywhere.

She said the offenders only had a small amount of time to commit the crime as her partner had only gone to bed an hour before she got home.

"The house is so small - it's crazy my partner didn't wake up."

"We always thought of Okato as a safe community and never worried too much about locking the doors while we are here.

"It is unsettling to know someone was in our house while us and our baby were sleeping.

"We are just happy everybody is okay."