Three armed men burst in to the Bellbird Arms Tavern at 12.20pm yesterday and threatened staff with a sawn-off shot gun, they are thought to have got away with $16,000 - $20,000.
3News reported that the pub manager was worried for his customers' safety:
"Tavern manager Brian McKinnon told Radio New Zealand there were about 15 customers in the bar at the time of the robbery. He was worried a customer might "do something stupid" like run at the robbers, and get hurt. Staff were trained to cope with these incidents and Mr McKinnon said he was less concerned for his own safety."
View Larger Map of Street view Bellbird Arms Tavern
It's a despicable crime, everyone involved must have been quite shaken, we hope they recover from their ordeal soon.
There have been a number of similar incidents in clubs, dairies, supermarkets, fast food restaurants, banks, a brothel and even a hairdressers (Rodney Wayne's in Takapuna) in which members of the public have been put at risk. It can only be a matter of time before a bystander is killed or seriously injured.
Violent armed robberies seem to be on the increase in New Zealand. In 2008 there were 1,160 recorded aggravated robberies (an average of more than 3 a day) of those 163 were firearm related and 223 used a stabbing or cutting weapon.
We're not sure what the official figures will be for this year but we've been keeping a tally of incidents that have affected commercial operations (i.e. not on domestic premises, street robberies, muggings, tourist hold-ups etc.) and which were reported to the press, the results have shocked us. Not only because there have been so many (almost 200) but also because they're happening all over New Zealand, from Invercargill to Kaitaia, not just in the more deprived and densely populated inner city areas.
What's worse, based on last years official figures, it looks like only a fraction of these robberies are being reported in the press so the true picture may be even worse. We suspect that many hold-ups in small dairies, service stations and liquor stores just don't get reported.
The list may been found here, or by clicking on the 'Armed Robberies' tab above.
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