“What’s the knife for?,” asked a Nelson dairy owner to a would-be thief.
In reply the man appeared to have lost his nerve, bolting from the Night Owl Store on Waimea Rd without taking anything. He was caught by passers-by soon afterwards.
The incident at 3.30pm on Monday afternoon left store owner Bhavash Patel shaken.
But after seeing dairy robberies around the country, he said he had mentally prepared himself for such an occasion.
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He said the man had walked into the store with half his face covered with what resembled a surgical mask. He had the hood of his sweatshirt over his head.
The man asked for money. Patel said he replied: “I just need your card”.
The man took a knife from his pocket, and held it at his side.
Patel said he took a step back and asked: “What’s the knife for?”
After the man fled he was quickly caught by two visitors from Auckland who had noticed him acting suspiciously.
The Aucklanders were walking past when they saw the man walk into the store and soon after saw him run off down Waimea Rd towards Bishopdale.
They caught the man just 20 metres from the dairy.
Patel’s wife called the police who arrived about five minutes later.
Patel said the dairy had been full of customers just five minutes before the masked man entered and he thought he was possibly waiting for a quiet moment.
Police arrested an 18 year-old man and charged him with aggravated burglary.
Patel said his family had owned the dairy for two and a half years with no similar incidents.