23 Jan 2011

Armed police raid properties after robbery

3:27 pm on 23 January 2011

Armed police in Hamilton have raided properties in their search for two men who shot a liquor store owner on Saturday night in a robbery.

The man was confronted by two men wearing balaclavas at his store on Greenwood St about 9.40pm.

The 58-year-old is in a serious but stable condition in Waikato Hospital after being wounded in his right shoulder and also suffering a fractured skull.

His nephew was also assaulted but escaped serious injury.

Police say one man armed with a shotgun and another with a hammer attacked the store owner before making off in a waiting car with a quantity of alcohol.

Members of the Armed Offenders Squad searched addresses in the suburbs of Dinsdale, Bader and Enderley on Sunday morning.

Police say distraction devices were used but no shots were fired.

They say they have talked to a number of people but no arrests have been made.

Police are investigating whether there's a link with another store robbery on Thursday night, in which a dairy owner tried to wrestle a sawn-off shotgun from one of two robbers.

The gun was fired into the floor during the struggle before the robbers, who wore balaclavas, fled with cigarettes.

Police say there are obvious similarities between the two robberies but are keeping an open mind as to whether they are linked.

Don't fight back, say police

Police have reiterated a call for shopkeepers to comply with the demands of robbers rather than putting themselves at risk, saying lives are more precious than property.

But one Hamilton dairy owner spoken to by Radio New Zealand said such incidents happen so fast it's hard to know whether to "give them everything or just stand there and stare at them."

"There's been so many robberies and break-ins nowadays - it's just not safe until you close the shop and go home," the man said.

He said cigarettes are now high in value and can easily be sold for cash.