17 Sep 2022

Ram-raided store owner: 'It's organised, and we're not doing enough'

11:58 am on 17 September 2022
The BP service station on Chapel Road, Botany, was targeted by ram raiders on 14 June.

The number of ram raids doubled between 2020 and 2021, and the violent break-ins have been in the news frequently this year. (File photo) Photo: RNZ / Mohammad Alafeshat

An Auckland liquor store has been ram-raided for the third time this year, and its owner says adults are teaching children to steal.

At about 5am, police were called to Liquorland in Mt Wellington.

Those involved left the scene before police arrived and no arrests had been made.

Store owner Andrew Barr told RNZ it was the store's third ram raid this year, and the eighth break-in since he bought the store 14 months ago.

He said the latest ram raid had been carried out by three adults and one child, and had caused more than $15,000 worth of damage.

"They used a Subaru car to smash through the front door and waited for the fog cannon to be [detonated] before entering the store and stealing a targeted range of premium goods" Barr said.

He believed adults were teaching children to steal stock and it was being sold to other retailers.

"There's not a smoker out there that can handle $2000 or $3000 worth of tobacco, it's being sold, and being sold to someone to on-sell.

"So yes, some of it is currency for gangs and what-have-you, but there are retailers out there that are doing dodgy deals and getting dodgy stock, it's as plain as the nose on your face."

He said changes were needed in the justice system to staunch the problem, and they were overdue.

"There's not enough that's being done with the criminal justice system... we've been saying this for ages, that changes need to happen.

"The challenge is - there's been what, 135 ram raids in the last three months? It's not only kids that are doing it, this is organised.

"Of course everyone deserves a second chance but when it becomes repetitive they need to be held to account otherwise we'll keep on seeing this type of criminal activity"

Barr said the inadequacies in the justice system for dealing with this kind of problem were letting the police down too.

Earlier this month, the government introduced a 'Better Pathways' package to place more young people in education, training or work, to help drive down youth crime.

All children aged under 14 years old in Counties Manukau and West Auckland who are caught doing a ram raid would be referred to the cross-agency Social Well-being Board, who would intervene with wrap-around support.

Minister of Police Chris Hipkins said the package was designed to prevent young people involved in crime being pushed further into a life of adult crime, but harsher punishments across the board would not work.

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