Victims sit on armed robber
A man who held up a Hastings liquor store with a shotgun pleaded "don't call the police" after being wrestled to the ground and sat on by his intended victims.
Police have told the owners of Flaxmere Liquor Plus that they risked their lives, but the owners said it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to tackle the gunman targeting their Easter Thursday takings.
"We didn't think what could happen to us, but we had a chance and we took it," liquor store owner Sanjeev Nauhira said.
"Everything dropped in our favour and we are alive."
Mr Nauhira said he and his business partner were outside their shop entrance at the Flaxmere town centre about 9pm on Thursday when they mistook a man running out of the shadows towards them as a customer hurrying to buy drinks.
The partners simply turned around and walked inside their store, not realising the man in a hoodie running toward their shop was wearing a bandanna over his face, gloves on his hands and had a pump-action shotgun inside his coat.
"This is Flaxmere. A lot of people wear hoods.
"We did not realise he was a robber.
"When he came inside, he pulled a gun from his clothes.
"It was a big gun and he was waving it at us."
The gunman yelled at the two to put cash from the till in a bag he had with him. The liquor store owners did as they were told.
Unbeknown to the would-be robber, Mr Nauhira's third business partner, Chamkaur Singh, and two friends were standing outside the shop in an unlit storage area, listening to him as he shouted his demands.
Mr Singh admits he was shaking when he went to the shop door and shoved the robber from behind as he pointed a gun at his business associates.
The push made the gunman stumble forward. Mr Nauhira immediately gave him another shove from the front "and after that, all five of us jumped on him". "He tried to run out the door, but we tackled him on the ground outside.
"He was yelling 'don't call the police, don't call the police'."
But they did.
Detective Constable Marty James said police had spoken to the liquor shop owners and told them members of the public should not take on offenders armed with any weapon.
"Particularly when a person rocks up with a pump-action shotgun.
"It could have been fatal."
A 39-year-old Rotorua man is due to appear in Hastings District Court today charged with aggravated robbery in relation to the incident.
It was the second time in a week in Hastings that shopowners have foiled would-be robbers by retaliating.
On Tuesday, dairy owner Sucha Johal fended off two men – one wielding a handgun – by hurling cans of fizzy drinks at them when they tried to hold up his dairy in Mahora.
Two unemployed Hastings men aged 17 and 22 were arrested on Thursday.
Both have been charged with attempted aggravated robbery and will appear in Hastings District Court next week.
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