An Oamaru dairy owner who fought off an attempted robbery with a cricket bat says all shop owners should keep a weapon on site for self defence.
BG’s Dairy owner Rajan Patel said he was reluctant to let his wife or employees work in the shop after dark after a youth attempted to hold him up with a steel rod on Monday.
“Everyone should keep something for self defence,” Rajan Patel said following the attempted robbery.
Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy, of Oamaru, said police arrested a youth shortly after the incident and charged him with assault with intent to rob.
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Patel said the youth entered his store, located on the Thames Highway, about 7pm on Monday and demanded he hand over all of the cash in the till.
Patel was working alone at the time and had been completing paper work in an office, just behind the counter area.
The would-be robber “entered as a customer” and stood behind the counter waiting to be served, Patel said.
However, when he went out to serve him the youth put a plastic bag on the counter, pulled out a concealed steel rod and told Patel to empty the till, he said.
Patel said the youth then moved behind the counter and started getting physical.
“He was pushing me to empty the till and give him cash.”
“I was keeping myself calm, I told him he could have what he wanted if he stayed away from me.”
The youth told him not to tell the cops or he would hit him, he said.
In a bid to delay the intruder Patel said he had to grab a key from his house behind the store as he did not have the right key to open the till.
“I told him I had to get the key for the till, I went to get the key, he followed. I tried the wrong key.”
With his wife sitting in the house Patel told her to retrieve the right key, but again the robber was delayed as his wife gave the wrong key.
“I told him I had to get the key, then I walked to the house while he watched me go to the house.”
He then walked to the house, locked the door and ran to the back and grabbed his cricket bat and came back charging at the intruder.
“I warned him, I’ll hit you if you don’t leave the shop.”
The robber then left the shop and made his way to nearby Teviot St where two of his friends were waiting, one of which was still wearing school uniform, he said.
“They all ran away and I was chasing them with the bat.”
As Patel chased the culprit, his wife, called police.
Patel said the shop was a popular spot for those who attended Pembroke School, Oamaru Intermediate School and Waitaki Boys’ High School.
“I have a lot of kids coming in my shop.”
He was worried students might not feel safe coming to the shop now and urged police to make more regular patrols of the area after sunset.
“I feel now it could happen again at anytime.”
He also held concerns for his other employees and no longer allowed his wife or employees to work in the shop after sunset.
Frasers Four Square Owner Brian Fraser said it paid to keep a vigilant eye for any kind of suspicious activity. But, in 38 years of business, they had never been robbed, “only the odd shoplifter”, he said.
He said people may be deterred from targeting his shop because it normally always had customers in and he was rarely working alone.
The youth appeared in the Dunedin District Court on Tuesday.