ZB ZB
Live now
Start time
Playing for
End time
Listen live
Listen to NAME OF STATION
Up next
Listen live on
ZB

'Give me the money or he'll shoot': Couple flee armed robber, leave kids behind

Author
Belinda Feek,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Nov 2023, 9:54PM
James Maru, 40, managed to avoid a jail sentence for the armed robbery in Hamilton in 2021.
James Maru, 40, managed to avoid a jail sentence for the armed robbery in Hamilton in 2021.

'Give me the money or he'll shoot': Couple flee armed robber, leave kids behind

Author
Belinda Feek,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Nov 2023, 9:54PM

A couple held at gunpoint were so frightened that they fled on foot and left their two young children behind, in the presence of the gunman.

Jason Maru still had the single-barrelled shotgun in his hand when he got into the couple’s abandoned car, with their children still sitting in the backseat, and rummaged around.

He grabbed a set of keys from their vehicle and then took off with his co-offender, Dakota Tango.

It was Tango who had lured the victims to a dairy on Powells Rd in Hamilton about 9.30pm on November 8, 2021, on the promise of selling a Samsung cellphone.

Tango, through her Facebook page “Real Dakota Fame”, listed the phone for $200.

After a series of messages with one of the victims, the sale was arranged and the couple arrived at the dairy with their two children, aged 8 and 11.

The male victim got out of their car to speak with Tango, who with Maru had got out of the other vehicle.

But Maru, 40, was armed with a shotgun and immediately pointed it at the man’s head.

Tango told him, “give me the money or he’ll shoot you” and tried to grab the cash from the victim’s hand.

The victim and his wife, who was also out of the car by that stage, fled the area, leaving their two children in the back seat of the car.

While still holding the shotgun, Maru got in the car briefly and did a “cursory search of the front of the car” before stealing some keys.

The pair then sped off in their own car.

A few days later their black Holden Captiva was spotted in Ngāruawāhia and spiked by police.

Maru got out, holding a sawn-off shotgun, and ran into a nearby marae.

He was followed by police and as he turned towards the officers, police fired a warning shot. Maru dropped the gun and was arrested.

In Hamilton District Court yesterday, Maru’s counsel Gerard Walsh said his client was remorseful for what happened and accepted his actions were “very, very, very poor”.

“If he could turn back the clock he tells me he would and he is most apologetic about that.”

Maru had also hoped to do restorative justice with the couple but it didn’t eventuate.

In arguing for a sentence of home detention, Walsh said although Maru’s time on electronically monitored bail had not gone well in Hamilton, he had since moved to another address in Rotorua where he was doing “exceedingly well” and had a more positive outlook on life.

“It’s very stable in Rotorua ... and the sentence could and would work.”

It was enough to sway Judge Marshall who agreed to keep him out of jail and sentenced him to nine months of home detention on charges of assault with intent to rob and a representative charge of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Belinda Feek is an Open Justice reporter based in Waikato. She has worked at NZME for eight years and been a journalist for 19.

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you