Police in Christchurch are looking into three different aggravated dairy robberies in the city overnight.
It is not yet known whether the incidents are connected, but cash and cigarettes were taken at all three locations.
Police were called to the first robbery at the Templeton Dairy about 5.15pm yesterday. Two people armed with a pistol entered the store and made off with an amount of money and cigarettes.
The thieves got away in a Mazda Demio, which was found by police shortly afterwards.
At the second robbery, at 8.22pm, two people armed with a hammer threatened a staffer at the Worcester Street Discount Dairy.
Like the first robbery, cash, cigarettes and also tobacco were taken. They left in a vehicle also.
The third aggravated robbery occurred in the early hours of this morning, about 4am.
Police said a man armed with a metal bar turned up at a shop on Riccarton Rd and threatened a staff member on duty.
The worker was uninjured, but like the first two robberies, cash and cigarettes were stolen and this time, the thief made off on foot.
Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Cottam said: "Canterbury CIB have carried out scene examinations at all three scenes and are collating these latest aggravated robberies to ascertain if they are linked and are working to identify the offenders.''
Police said they were working closely with local dairies and petrol stations to come up with preventative opportunities.
"We ask that any member of the public who witnesses suspicious behavior near these types of premises - day or night - to contact police on 111 immediately,'' Cottam said.
"It is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt during this offending and the small amount of goods taken in these robberies is not worth the extended prison terms that the offenders will be liable for when arrested.''
Authorities called on family members or people associated with those involved to do the right thing and dob them in to police.
Police asked those with information to contact them at (03) 363 7400, or to contact Crimestoppers anonymously at 0800 555 111.