Metal store

Auckland burglaries: Shop owner says locals who fended off lawbreakers in smash and grab are heroes

Shop owners and locals battle attempted jewelry theft from About Time jewelry and watch store on Remuera Rd. Video/NZ Herald

The owner of an Auckland watch store who was targeted in an attempted daylight attack says the men who fought off the thieves are heroes.

A group of men, including one armed with an axe, began “attacking” the About Time storefront in Remuera around 4:20 p.m. Monday.

Store owner Rebecca Alexander said she was at home at the time of the incident but was on the phone with her husband who was at the store.

“I heard our office manager scream and then I heard the glass shatter and I thought ‘oh my God, we’ve been redone again,'” she said.

A group of men, including one armed with an axe, smashed the storefront.  Photo / Jed Bradley
A group of men, including one armed with an axe, smashed the storefront. Photo / Jed Bradley

Incredible footage has surfaced of other shop owners and locals who picked up the offenders in an effort to thwart their escape.

“We had some heroes, the man from the kebab shop was cutting carrots with a pretty big machete type knife – he rushed over and started attacking them or attacking the car,” Alexander said. .

Pro Consult co-owner Stuart Hobbs also ran over and picked up a sign to defend himself. He can be seen in the footage bailing the group out behind some stairs before following them to their car where he rammed into them from the passenger side.

Another man can also be seen hitting the car.

“It was the only thing I could defend myself with because those three hoods were armed with hammers and axes so I charged them and I think they got the scare of their lives actually and they started to run and I kept running after them,” Hobbs said.

“I think you know I have the right to protect my community, I think I should and I think if people can come together and not put up with this stuff, we’re going to be a better society for that.”

About Time owner says New Zealand isn't the safe country it used to be.  Photo / Jed Bradley
About Time owner says New Zealand isn’t the safe country it used to be. Photo / Jed Bradley

Someone else can also be heard saying “hit him with a knife, hit him with a rock”.

Later in the video, a man carrying a knife can be seen with blood on his hand.

Despite their best efforts, the offenders managed to get away in a silver Toyota Aqua.

Alexander said they wouldn’t have gotten away if someone who was in traffic waiting at a red light hadn’t walked away to let the violators pass.

As a wave of burglaries hits the city, Alexander said they need to be “super” vigilant.

“We have a lock system so you have to buzz to get in, I look at you and see if I think you are suitable,” she said.

“New Zealand was once a wonderful, safe country that we all wanted to come back to and live in and now it’s yeah, scary.”

It was the second time in a month that the store had been targeted and Alexander suspected the same attackers.

The first time, a group used rocks, hammers and crowbars to get their way.

Fortunately, in both incidents, offenders were unable to get their hands on any stock.

The Herald has sought comment from police.

In a separate incident today, police say there was an aggravated robbery at a Royal Oak jewelery store around 3.15pm.

Three men entered the store and smashed several windows before fleeing with jewelry, police said.

Police later said they received reports that a man in Mt Eden was trying to sell jewelry and officers were present.

Four men were subsequently arrested and are due to appear in court tomorrow.

A wave of smashes and grabs plagues Auckland

This incident comes after Auckland Detective Inspector Scott Beard exclusively told the Herald that at least 12 smash-and-grabs had occurred across Tāmaki Makaurau in the six-week period from from late May to mid-July.

He noted that Michael Hill had been targeted in about half of those incidents, as the young ram raiders who plagued Auckland businesses now favor jewelry stores.

Last week, staff and shoppers at Westgate’s NorthWest shopping center were shocked when several people – who were armed with various weapons, but no firearms – entered the Michael Hill store and smashed cupboards and took objects.

Footage shows members of the group making their way through glass cabinets and picking up items.

Earlier that week, a Michael Hill jewelry store in downtown Botany was also targeted by a group of robbers armed with tools and were seen smashing windows.

Several other Michael Hill stores in Auckland have been targeted over the past month, including in New Lynn, Newmarket and Takapuna.

Beard also revealed that police believe the perpetrators of these crimes were largely the same people behind a major spike in ram raids earlier this year.

“It would appear that we are talking about the same group of offenders and they have just moved on to aggravated burglaries where they enter, for example, Michael Hill Jewelers, smashing windows, seizing jewelry and carrying off,” he said. declared.

“I think a lot of it is about notoriety, bravado among their friends and their group, but there’s also this opportunity to sell or get money from jewelry or wear it themselves- same.”

The offenders were generally between the ages of 12 and 20, often equipped with hammers, tongs or other metal bars.