31 Aug 2016

Auckland dairy owner hires teens for security back-up

7:46 pm on 31 August 2016

A south Auckland dairy owner is so fed up with being robbed that he has hired two teenagers next door to call on for back-up.

Police officers in Auckland

A file photo shows a police car outside a liquor store in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Figures released by Statistics New Zealand today showed the national burglary rate had jumped by almost 12 percent over 12 months, compared to the same period last year.

In a bid to resolve more home burglaries in particular, Police Minister Judith Collins on Monday put the offence at the top of the priority list for police responses.

But, when it came to call-outs for robbery and attempted robbery, for the Southern Superette and Dairy in Papakura, all trust in the police to either turn up or treat their call seriously was gone.

Back in March, the store's owner, Kaushik Kumar, told RNZ News he was being robbed up to three times a month.

At the time, he said they could not do much but call the police, who never turned up.

Five months on, Manish Mistry - the owner's brother and a worker at the shop - said they were still being targeted, with the most recent attack under a month ago.

"Three boys came in the shop, one was standing outside. The other two were inside the shop, one had a screwdriver in his pocket.

"There was an older guy who was holding chips and drink, and he wanted to get out but my brother blocked him in the middle of the entrance.

"There were school kids around the entrance, so he kicked my brother and both of the boys ran away in the opposite direction."

He said when officers did eventually show up, they threatened to charge Mr Kumar with blocking the group from leaving the shop.

Mr Mistry said they were left dumbfounded and, ever since then, they had changed tack.

"So I hired two boys that are living next door. They come in and voluntarily check every half an hour or hour to check everything is okay.

"If there's any problem, I just ring them up. That's the only defence I can have."

He said it was more comforting knowing that he could get help straight away, than to expect anything but disappointment from the police.

Bhupinder Singh at Legends Liquor in central Auckland.

Bhupinder Singh Photo: RNZ / Carla Penman

Bhupinder Singh, who runs Liquor Legends off Mt Eden Road, said they had been robbed three times in the past five weeks.

"The first time, they just pushed the guy, my colleague, and just grabbed ciggies and all these things.

"But the second time, they just come and start beating with wood and the third time they [did] the same thing.

"And third time, they like crazy. They just want to attempt murder."

He said it was then that he was trying to leave the store when a bottle of wine was smashed on his head.

"So I just fell down on the floor, because the bottle had broken on my head and there was blood.

"And I realised after one or two seconds, there might be an attack a second time."

He fled to the takeaway shop next door for safety, he said.

"And the guy over there made a call to the ambulance and to the police. I got three stitches."

Mr Singh said he was pretty shaken up after that, and even two weeks later, the sound of the "beep" when a customer entered the shop frightened him.

He said every day from 6pm through until the shop closed, they were now only letting in customers who did not appear threatening.

The Police Minister's office and police headquarters have been approached for comment.

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