Armed robbers at Te Awa mall, Hamilton. Video / Supplied
Armed robbers have been seen carrying out a daylight smash-and-grab robbery at a busy Hamilton mall.
It’s the second incident of its kind in Hamilton today after a security guard was injured in a separate early morning raid on a shopping centre.
A group of at least seven masked thieves were seen smashing glass cabinets at Michael Hill Jewellers at The Base, Te Rapa Hamilton – leaving shoppers horrified and workers sobbing.
A retail worker in Te Awa, The Base said she was alerted to the robbery when she heard a scream.
“I ran out to go see and saw seven guys, dressed in fully black, just smashing everything, yelling at the girls that were working,” she said.
She said the workers in Michael Hill were shaking and crying, and another mall worker was on the ground shaking after the incident.
The worker said the mall was packed with shoppers today.
“There’s so many people and they all have no idea what just occurred.
“I heard someone say they had weapons and I shut up shop and stay in until we were told to come out.
“It’s just girl workers, myself and my sales assistant today so I am not feeling too comfortable now, so we might shut up a bit earlier just for our own relief.”
The Michael Hill Jewellers is located next to the food court, which was busy with shoppers and diners who watched the incident unfold in alarm.
Roeland Koridon was sitting in the food court with his family when the group started smashing their way through Michael Hill.
“We heard this almighty bang, it was almost like something exploding,” he said.
Koridon said they saw at least 10 people a part of the group and that some looked as young as 13.
“The hardest thing was, we were with our kids,” he said.
“It was so scary because of the actual fact there were little kids all around.”
The family were just visiting the area from Northland, Koridon said they are ready to go home after witnessing the ordeal.
He said his sons were “really scared” and “not in a good state”.
Koridon suggested that jewellery stores be removed from shopping centres and instead become standalone stores.
Police have been approached for comment.
Meanwhile, a security guard was injured after being assaulted by a group of thieves who robbed a separate Hamilton shopping centre early this morning.
Police say that a group smashed their way into shops on Hukanui Rd at about 5.45am.
Detective Senior Sergeant Kristine Clarke said the group stole goods from multiple stores before approaching a security guard who was in their vehicle nearby.
“The group have approached the vehicle and assaulted the security guard before
leaving the scene. The security guard was taken to hospital for assessment of facial injuries. This is a really nasty, gratuitous violence directed at the security guard who had not approached or challenged the offenders,” Clarke said.
The thieves are then believed to have left in a gold Nissan Tiida.