16 Mar 2009

South Auckland hit by second bank robbery

9:01 pm on 16 March 2009

The police in south Auckland are investigating a second aggravated bank robbery.

They say a local businessman was depositing money at a National Bank branch in Manukau at about 11.45 on Monday morning when he and the teller were approached by a man claiming to have a firearm in a bag.

The offender, who left with thousands of dollars, did not disguise himself and can be clearly seen in security camera footage. The police say it will be remarkable if no-one recognises the man, and a swift arrest is expected.

Meanwhile, the police have also set up an 0800 number for public information about the armed robbery of a security guard outside a Bank of New Zealand branch on Friday. The number is 0800 VAN ARMO, or 0800 826 2766.

In that robbery, a heavily disguised man armed with a sawn-off firearm robbed a security van driver of more than $200,000. While both occurred in Manukau City, the robberies are not thought to be connected.

The Security Association says the armed robbery would have had the same result, even if more security guards were present, because they would all have been confronted with an armed man.

The police looking after the BNZ investigation say the results of forensic tests on a white Subaru Impreza that was recovered on Sunday, should be known on Tuesday morning.

The car was dumped in a semi-industrial area at Ryan Place in Manukau City, only a few hundred metres from where the robbery was carried out.

Detective Sergeant Irving says the Subaru was parked in the bank carpark, in direct sight of the front doors, for some time before the Armourguard van arrived. He said it appears to have been a planned attack, but there is nothing to indicate it was an inside job.

Police want to hear from anyone who saw the car, or any of the six black or orange bank bags that contained the cash.

They also want to speak to anyone who may know the gunman. He was wearing white gloves, a dark sweatshirt, jeans, sneakers and a black balaclava over a peaked cap.

Bank staff offered support

The BNZ says staff who witnessed the robbery are being offered support. The bank says none of its staff were directly involved, but those who saw the incident have been offered support.

The BNZ's head of fraud and security, Mike Byrne, says all necessary support is being provided to Armourguard and the police.

Armourguard says the guards involved in the heist have been offered counselling.