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Police in Rotorua are hoping that security stills might help identify a number of offenders and put a stop to a small spate of aggravated robberies in the town.
The Westbrook Tavern has been targeted twice in as many weeks, having first been robbed on the afternoon of Saturday, 30 June by three offenders who threatened staff before stealing an undisclosed sum of money. On Tuesday (10 July) at 7.30pm three people went in to the same premises, again threatened staff with a weapon, and stole a small amount of cash.
Two of the offenders in both robberies were of solid build, with the other slight to medium.
Detective Senior Sergeant Zane Smith said: "There are similarities between the offences but they are not identical, so it is too early to say categorically that the two incidents are linked. We believe someone locally will know who are behind these crimes and encourage them to get that information to us either directly or via Crimestoppers."
On Wednesday evening, at approximately 5.50pm the Fenton Park Dairy was also subject of an aggravated robbery.
A worker was threatened by two offenders armed with a tomahawk. No one was hurt and the offenders got away with a small amount of cash. The offenders are both believed to be male and one was wearing a distinctive grey hooded jacket, red patterned under garment, black shoes with a white or fluorescent stripe and carrying a yellow cloth bag. The co-offender was larger in stature and dress in dark clothing with white footwear.
Police do not believe at this stage that this is linked to the Westbrook Tavern offending and it is also not connected to a robbery of the Ranolf Street Superette on Monday involving a tomahawk and the theft of a couple of packets of cigarettes. An 18-year-old man has been arrested and charged with that offence and the tomahawk has been recovered.
DSS Smith said: "Rotorua saw the number of recorded robberies fall by nearly 37% last year and we have a good detection rate. Sadly there are still a minority of people who think they can get away with this type of behaviour and those people need to seriously consider whether a prison sentence is really the price they want to pay for a few packets of smokes or a small sum of cash."
Anyone with information relevant to this investigation is asked to contact Rotorua Police on 07 349 9400. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.