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Armed robbers storm Michael Hill Jeweller store, use hammers to smash cabinets at Auckland mall

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Police at Westgate’s NorthWest Shopping Centre after armed robbers raided the Michael Hill Jeweller store. Photo / Alex Burton

Up to six armed robbers wearing masks and clad “head to toe” in black stormed a Michael Hill Jeweller store in a West Auckland mall this afternoon and used hammers to smash glass cabinets before making off with the loot.

Police swarmed Westgate’s NorthWest Shopping Centre about 4pm and told people to evacuate the complex. Customer barricaded themselves inside stores while others ran from the mall in panic.

It follows a similar attack just 10 days ago when four armed thieves targeted the Michael Hill Jeweller store at Dress Smart Onehunga.

“Police are in attendance at a shopping centre on Fred Taylor Drive in West Auckland after receiving reports of an aggravated robbery at the centre at 3.45pm,” a police spokesperson said.

“At this time, no injuries are reported. Police are making enquiries to determine the circumstances of the incident and locate the offenders.”

A witness told the Herald a group of six mask-wearing thieves wielding hammers stormed into the Michael Hill Jeweller and began smashing cabinets.

”I just turned around and made sure my store was closed.”

The witness said a couple of other stores nearby slammed their shutter doors closed during the robbery.

Another witness said who was shopping at the mall said said a grey Subaru SUV was used by the robbers.

“Five people entered just next to us, walking fast, and we immediately realised they were going to rob a store because they were dressed in black from head to toe.

“We went out with my husband and called the police. A few minutes later, the helicopter arrived and started flying around NorthWest and Costco.”

“Everyone went out of the mall, the fog canyons went off and people were shaking outside in the carpark.”

A third witness said staff in nearby stores were amazing.

Northwest Shopping Centre Fred Talor Drive
picture szupplied
credit: Google Maps
Northwest Shopping Centre Fred Talor Drive picture szupplied credit: Google Maps

She saw people running, “and all of a sudden every manager or owner was ushering people to safety”.

“It was over so quickly. I was in ANZ and the staff were amazing – locking everything up in seconds and keeping us informed.”

The ANZ duty manager told customers, “Please get inside … there are people with weapons in the mall”.

One man who was at the Specsavers outlet at the opposite end of the mall at the time told Newshub he was locked inside the store.

Police at Westgate's NorthWest Shopping Centre after armed robbers raided the Michael Hill Jeweller store. Photo / Alex Burton
Police at Westgate’s NorthWest Shopping Centre after armed robbers raided the Michael Hill Jeweller store. Photo / Alex Burton

He said “everyone inside was panicking” after initially thinking there was a gunman in the mall.

A store owner nearby told the Herald everyone was asked to evacuate the building and await further instruction by police.

People could be seen running for the nearest exit.

The owner said police have now deemed it safe for employees to return to their place of work.

The same Michael Hill store was targeted by robbers in December 2020, when two men armed with hammers stormed the shop in a 9.40am smash-and-grab.

Broken glass cabinets could be seen from the entrance of Partridge Jewellers in Newmarket Mall, Auckland.
Broken glass cabinets could be seen from the entrance of Partridge Jewellers in Newmarket Mall, Auckland.

Today’s incident comes a week after a jewellery store at Westfield Newmarket was ram raided by thieves for the second time in nine days.

Mall staff had erected screens around Partridge Jewellers Newmarket last Sunday night after a person entered the store and stole “a number of items”.

Several cabinets inside the store had been smashed and police cordoned off the entrance to the mall.

On April 12, employees at the same store had to flee into a locked back room after a group of thieves ram raided the shop and began smashing cabinets and stealing expensive pieces.

Staff were closing the store about 8.55pm when a stolen Toyota Aqua reversed into the shop.

”The employees locked themselves in a back room while six offenders, whose faces were covered, began breaking cabinets and taking jewellery,” Detective Sergeant Joseph Niupopo said.

The criminals used hammers and tyre irons to smash the cabinets before driving off with a “large quantity of high-end pieces of jewellery”.

More to come.



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