A teenager has been arrested in relation to the aggravated robbery of Hastings dairy thanks to some quick thinking by a member of the public.

Palm Store on Frederick St was the target of an aggravated robbery yesterday when two male Maori in their 20s entered the store armed with a screw driver at 4.40pm.

Detective Senior Sergeant Martin James said a person passing the store yesterday saw an offender leaving with the cash drawer.

"The witness took note of the offender's description, vehicle and registration number and immediately contacted police on 111."


James said the man was located a short time later at a Hastings address and charged with aggravated robbery.

He appeared in the Hastings District Court this morning and was remanded in custody to next appear on June 19.

Items stolen in the incident had been recovered and police were seeking a second male in connection with the robbery, James said.

Dairy owner Sucha Johal said his wife was minding the shop alone when two people entered the store with their faces covered with white cloth.

She immediately left the store through a back door which adjoined their house to get help from others at the property.

"One person came around the aisle while one person grabbed the door so nobody could go inside and the other person took the till," he said.

He estimated there had been up to $500 cash in the till and said while it wasn't the first time his store had been targeted by robbers, it was the first time they had been successful.

"It's happened before but they never took anything before, this is the first time."

His wife, who speaks little English, wasn't physically confronted by the offenders but Johal said the experience had left her shaken.

"She is alright. It was scary but she's alright."

Johal, who has owned the Hastings shop for 13 years, said he was now in the process of updating old camera equipment in the shop and said such preventative measures were part and parcel with being a dairy owner.

"I'm worried because there's not two people [in the store]. One person has to go home or shopping, jobs or banking so we always have to think about somebody coming in.

"We don't want to be worrying about anything. Normal people come in and we just want to be happy, not always keeping in mind that someone could come in."

The aggravated robbery comes after a spate of similar incidents throughout Hawke's Bay in the past few months and brought the region's tally to 39 for the year.

On May 20 two men armed with a hammer stormed the Grays Rd Convenient Store and Takeaway, one offender smashing the cabinet and the computer screen on the counter, while the other went to the cigarette cabinet.

The weekend prior five teenagers approached the Westshore Corner dairy on Charles St as the owner was closing up, punching him to the ground before stealing packets of chips from the store.

In late April police were investigating two aggravated robberies in Napier and Havelock North that happened just hours apart.

Just after 8pm on April 23 a lone attendant at Mobil Havelock North service station was confronted by a man said to be brandishing a knife and forced to hand over cash.

Earlier in the day, just after 12.30pm, a young male robbed a Pricecutter superette in Napier's Maraenui shopping centre, fleeing with cigarettes and cash after threatening a shopkeeper with a mallet.

James urged anyone who had any information or knew the identity of the second male offender to contact Detective Wayne Steed of the Hawke's Bay CIB on (06) 873 0500

The maximum penalty for aggravated robbery is 14 years' imprisonment.