Auckland CBD dairy robbery: Owner’s message to gunman – ‘ You deserve better’

The owner of an Auckland dairy has praised the shop’s 18-year-old worker for his bravery during an aggravated robbery in broad daylight.

The Vincent Mini Mart in Auckland CBD was robbed on Saturday afternoon by a man who presented a firearm at the teenage shopkeeper standing behind the counter and demanded money.

It was the 18-year-old trainee’s first weekend on the job.

Detective Sergeant Vanessa Pratt said police were investigating the incident.

The man entered the store at about 2.30pm and stood behind a shelving unit while the sole staff member served two customers, Pratt said.

When the customers left, the man approached the counter.

“He presented a firearm at the staff member and demanded money. He left the shop with an amount of money, turned right onto Vincent St, and walked in the direction of the Hopetoun Bridge,” she said.

“Police would like to speak to the two customers who were in the store at about 2.30pm.”

The dairy owner, who did want to be identified, said the teen worker was brave and remained “pretty calm” during the incident.

“He’s not going to be working again. He’s freaked out,” she said.

“[The man] got into the shop while two customers were paying and by the time they were out, he was by the cashier again, with a gun and asked the poor kid for money.”

The incident lasted only a few minutes with the man taking a few hundred dollars in cash.

The young worker pushed an alarm button that alerted police, she said.

“He is very brave. His reaction was very quick and very fast. He was pretty calm.”

She said members of the local community have come into the shop to check on staff.

“Everybody was coming to make sure we were alright. It’s heartwarming to see all that. It’s a very good community.”

She and her husband help locals by allowing those who need it to pay for their shopping later if they don’t have the money then, she said, and they would’ve helped the man in the same way if he had asked for it.

“The fact that somebody needed something, they didn’t have to come into the shop with a gun.”

This is the first time the shop has been robbed in the two and half years they have been there. She said the incident has made her feel as if she needs to be more alert for potential trouble.

“It’s like a state of anticipation. Probably nothing bad would happen again, hopefully, but you have to be alert.”

She also had a message for the gunman: “You deserve better,” she said.

“It’s not too late to start anew. We are all humans, we can make mistakes. Nobody knows what sort of pressures you are going through. But it’s never too late, you owe it to yourself to think again.”

* Anyone who has information that can assist in the investigation can call 105 and quote file number 210123/0838 or anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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