A man has admitted masterminding a burglary that ended with a dairy owner – armed with a can of cat food – chasing firearm-toting criminals down the road
Ihaka Hamuera Arapeta Paul was to stand trial this week, charged with the aggravated robbery of the Summerhays Corner Superette in Palmerston North.
Police alleged Paul was one of two men who entered the dairy in February 2015 and took off with more than $1500.
One man, Demrus Edwards, had already pleaded guilty by the time Paul’s trial was to start in the Palmerston North District Court on Monday morning.
READ MORE: Palmerston North dairy owner chased armed robbers
But Paul changed his tune before a jury was impanelled, changing his plea after the Crown amended the charge.
Paul has now admitted being the mastermind behind the crime, encouraging Edwards and one other person to rob the dairy.
The burglary has its genesis in an impounded car, and ended with the robbers jumping fences while being chased by dairy owner Manhar Patel.
Edwards had been driving Paul’s sister’s car around Palmerston North, which ended in it being impounded.
Paul, his sister and Edwards went to the impound lot in Palmerston North, but did not have the $250 required to get the car released.
At 3.55pm on February 11, 2015, Edwards and his currently unidentified accomplice parked a Volkswagen Polo near the dairy.
The pulled up their hoods and went into the dairy. One of the pair, the police are not exactly sure who, was armed with a gun.
The firearm was pointed at a woman who had just bought an icecream as she tried to leave, and she retreated to the back of the shop.
The gun was then pointed at Patel, while the unarmed robber demanded cash.
Patel emptied the tills into a bag provided by the robbers, then yelled at his wife to call police, before chasing the robbers out of the dairy.
CCTV footage from the scene shows Patel grabbing a can of cat food, presumably to use as a weapon.
Patel told Stuff after the burglary he was not thinking about the firearm, as he just wanted to warn people on the street about the robbers.
The robbers ran past their getaway car and jumped fences into the Terrace End Bowling Club.
Paul was given his first strike warning and kept in custody until June for sentencing, while Edwards will be sentenced on Wednesday.