An offender was foiled by new protective glass during an attempted smash and grab at a Michael Hill jewellery store in Silverdale Mall this afternoon.
One witness told the Herald he saw the offender hitting the glass several times attempting to shatter it.
The offender failed to shatter the jewellery cabinets at the Michael Hill store at Silverdale Mall. Photo / Colin Knox
“The fog cannon went off. He was in there maybe a minute then ran out. Someone tried to throw a chair at him when he tried to escape.
“From the look of the cabinets he tried to get into, all three were smashed but not broken.”
A police spokesperson said one person has been taken into custody following a robbery at a store in a shopping centre on Silverdale Street at about 11.20am.
“The offender was armed with a hammer, and left the store after the fog cannon was activated.
“He left the scene in a vehicle continuing to the Northern motorway where the vehicle was stopped north of the Lonely Track Overbridge.”
A 20-year-old man has been taken into custody and charges are being considered.
People shopping at the mall during the busy public holiday weekend were evacuated when fog cannons were activated.
A Toyota hatchback fleeing the scene tried to evade police by driving around Milldale, including down Argent Lane on the wrong side of the road.
The car was stopped by police on the Northern Motorway about half an hour after the robbery.
One shop owner retreated into her store, shut the double doors and locked herself and a customer indoors during the robbery.
She said the sound of cabinets being smashed sounded like gunfire.
”I thought it might have been someone shooting because the bangs were so loud,” she said.
”Almost like walls falling down.”
She said the whole incident lasted for about five minutes, but shoppers and retailers were outside the mall for 45 minutes to an hour.
”It looked like the place was on fire. There was fog everywhere, and there were a few chairs scattered everywhere.”
The whole experience left her shaken.
Police have been approached for comment and attempts have been made to contact the mall’s management.
A Michael Hill spokesperson said a single offender entered Michael Hill’s Silverdale store in an attempted smash-and-grab, but was unable to penetrate the armoured glass protecting the displays.
“Fog cannons were also activated. The assailant fled the scene and has since been apprehended by police.”
It comes after a Michael Hill jewellery store was targeted at Bayfair Shopping Centre in Mt Maunganui yesterday.
Michael Hill chief executive Daniel Bracken said in a statement last night, after the Bayfair smash-and-grab, that security and safeguarding measures remain integral.
“We have continued to review our security measures to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect our team and customers,” Bracken said.
He said continued offending in New Zealand has prompted Michael Hill to roll out assault glass across its stores as an added security measure.
“This anti-bandit armoured glass can withstand repeated heavy blows, making it near-impossible to penetrate.
“It’s incredibly disturbing to see these incidents continue, and as such, the implementation of assault glass across all stores remains a priority.”
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