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Brazen thieves target Masterton businesses

A recent spate of brazen broad-daylight robberies has left Masterton business owners thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Police are investigating at least two incidents in the past week where stores in the central business district have been targeted by thieves.
On Monday, a man stole two laptops from OHC Computers and CCTV, valued at $3000, and on Saturday, $800 worth of high-end hair straightening equipment was stolen from Michelle’s Hair Studio.
Both thieves walked into the businesses in broad daylight, grabbed the items, and bolted. OHC, a computer store on Jackson St, which specialises in security cameras, caught the entire robbery on its own CCTV cameras.
The footage showed the thief opening the sliding door with his wrist, nipping inside and grabbing the laptops.
He was in and out of the store in five seconds.
Business owner Mike Johnston said the laptops would be unusable without power cables.
“All the Masterton computer shops are on alert for the charger; that is how they get caught.
“The dumber you are, the easier you are to catch, and this guy was dumb, so he’ll be caught,” Johnston said.
He said Monday’s incident was only the third or fourth time thieves had robbed the store in 30 years.
“These people have Christmas shopping lists
like everyone else; the only difference is, they’re not paying for it,” Johnston said.
Michelle’s Hair Studio on Lincoln Rd was robbed on Saturday afternoon.
The thief rode past on a bicycle, entered the salon full of customers, grabbed two high-end products, and walked out the door.
Owner Michelle Pike said the person must have known what he was taking because they were top-of-the-line products.
“It was so brazen, going straight for it; if I had been there, I would have chased him in my heels,” Pike said.
After previous incidents of small-scale shoplifting, she installed five CCTV cameras, but Saturday was the business’ first significant theft.
The thief removed the hair tools from their boxes on a display shelf before walking out the door.
“Businesses need to step up their security; we have several cameras and an alarm system,” Pike said.
She said the salon offered several laybuy options for people who wanted to buy high-end hair products, theft was not necessary.
She said multiple people had messaged her since she posted the CCTV footage of the robbery on social media, saying they recognised the individual.
“I hope the police catch this person before they rip off another business,” Pike said.
Police said they were in the initial stages of their investigation and were following lines of inquiry.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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