Another raid on Parua Bay Gas service station with thieves targeting cigarettes again has owners Ross and Lynne Brown seriously considering axing tobacco products from their shelves.
In just under 10 years there have been four raids on the business with the latest being at 2.30am yesterday with hundreds of dollars worth of cigarettes stolen.
Less than 50m away the Parua Bay Four Square was subject to another ram raid — the second in 10 days — about 10pm on Sunday. Very little was taken but thousands of dollars worth of damage was done to the shop window and brick wall.
Police are investigating the possibility the latest two incidents are linked and they could also be linked to the ram raids 10 days ago at the Parua Bay Four Square and Gas Tikipunga.
Ross Brown was forced to yet again repair the damage done to his business and consider if the risk of stocking tobacco products was too high.
"We might have to cut selling ciggies, but it's not that easy. If we do that that's someone's wages gone and one less person we can employ. We are really going to have to have a good think about stocking them or not," Brown said.
"The Government keeps putting up the prices and increasing the taxes and it's made it a lucrative crime for burglars. It hasn't stopped many people smoking so there needs to be more education."
After the last break-in, about a year ago, when a stolen car was driven through the main doors into the shop, Brown had made and installed two large bollards.
The owner of the Four Square, who did not want to be named, said their local customers had given her lots of hugs over the last 10 days which had helped deal with the trauma.
"It's one of those things I can't fathom ... I think it's becoming normal," she said of the ram raids.
After the ram raid 10 days ago the owner had costed out getting bollards put in place outside to prevent vehicles smashing through the front walls.
"We had it costed and considered the position of the bollards and then this happened too quick. It's just distressing."
The owners had been in the business for 10 years and were not put off by the traumatic last two weeks.
"The community out here is great, we get so much support. That support, it's something you don't give up on."
Detective Sergeant Josh Lautogo said security camera footage showed five people enter the Four Square but they had their faces covered and hoods over their heads.
Alcohol and confectionery along with cigarettes papers and filters were stolen.
Four and a half hours later a Honda Odyssey, registration number FRD739, coloured red, was stolen from an Onerahi property and driven to the Parua Bay Gas Service Station.
Three people, also unable to be identified because they were wearing hoods, aggressively pushed against the glass front door causing it to shatter then fall off the tracks.
They went into the office area where the tobacco was being kept for the night and smashed their way into the cabinet taking cigarettes.
The stolen car was later found and has been seized for a forensic examination to be completed.
Lautogo appealed to members of the public who might have vital details that could help them identify the offenders in each of the cases.
"If any one saw any suspicious activity or the red Honda Odyssey please contact police," Lautogo said.
On April 1 Paihia's Rip Curl store was raided shortly before 4am, with a white flat-deck ute used to smash through a side wall of the Williams Rd sportswear shop. The offender took about 60 watches worth up to $10,000.
CCTV footage showed the ute reversing down a walkway next to the store, turning sharply, then ramming the wall multiple times. It eventually broke through a ranchslider and an internal wall, making enough of a gap for the thief to squeeze through.
If you can help with any of these cases contact Detective Sergeant Josh Lautogo at Whangārei station on 09 4704500 or Crimestoppers on 0800555111.