“God will punish them.”
Rangiora Ave Mini Market owner Jayesh Patel wants to send this message to the group of six young men who robbed his store on Monday, kicking his nephew in the face as they did so.
The latest robbery was the third time the Palmerston North store has been robbed in the past six years – a series of crimes that have left Patel’s family and staff members with physical and mental injuries.
“You kicked my nephew,” Patel said. “What I’m suffering, they would feel shame. God will punish them.”
* A series of robberies in Palmerston North has left employees across the city shaken
* Police seeking information on 2016 Rangiora Mini Mart robbery
* Teens arrested following armed robbery of Palmerston North Liquorland
* Police say replica pistol used to rob Kelvin Grove Mini Market
* Shop owners fear return of armed robbers
Patel’s 17-year-old nephew was working in the store at the time of the latest robbery.
“They took all the cash from the till, they took cigarettes and in the end they got everything and kicked my nephew’s nose so he was badly hurt,” Patel said.
Patel said his nephew’s father had died three years ago and they were helping care for the teenager.
“That’s all responsibility on my shoulders.
“If they hit me, I don’t care. I’ve been hit twice and I don’t get angry.
“But this time it’s my nephew.”
In 2011 Patel’s cheek was slashed with a knife during a robbery at the store. Jackson Daniel Skipper, 21, was jailed later that year for the crime.
Then in December, 2016, Patel’s wife, Tinu Patel, had a hammer held to her head when the shop was once again targeted by criminals.
Nobody was arrested for that incident, which has made the family anxious.
“We get afraid coming to work now.”
Patel said the family now felt trapped and wondered how they were going to bounce back.
“We don’t have options, so if we sell the shop how are we going to survive?”
New Zealand Indian Central Association vice president Paul Patel visited the Mini Mart on Tuesday to see how the family was doing after yet another attack.
He said he believed the problem of dairy robberies had escalated of late.
“I think the type of attack is changing. There is disregard for the people behind the counter.”
Paul Patel said they were organising a meeting so shop and dairy owners could discuss the issue.
“The children, the wives of the shopkeepers, their grandparents and brothers and sisters, they are all concerned.”
He said any time a shop was robbed it wasn’t just that particular store that was affected, but the whole community.
“The owners go out of their way to serve their little communities that their stores are based in and a very high per cent of the community are no problem.
“But once in a while we get these things.”
Former Central Economic Development Agency chief executive officer Will Samuel has previously said there were multiple ways a robbery could have an impact on a small business.
“The interruption, loss of stock and people are left out of pocket. It also affects their ability to trade in the future.”
He said businesses needed to do what they could to protect themselves.
There were many insurances available to businessess, including business interruption insurance and loss of stock.
In a statement, Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Sheridan said police believed the offenders were young men or youths.
He said one shopper was in the dairy at the time. The person was not injured and was helping police with their investigation.
A scene examination took place on Tuesday and police were reviewing CCTV footage.
Police were doing extra patrols in the area, as incidents of this nature were taken very seriously, Sheridan said.