Masterton’s Gull petrol station on Chapel St. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN
A man brandishing a “big knife” robbed Masterton’s Gull petrol station early yesterday morning. He escaped with a “large amount of cash and cigarettes”, according to police.
At 1.30am the offender took the knife out of his back pocket and threatened a petrol station attendant, robbed the store and ran off on foot.
Witness Nick Kelly, who was delivering the Times-Age, said he saw the man jump back to the customer side of the shop counter and run off to the side of the building.
“He was tall and skinny dressed all in black, had a hoodie and a hat on and ran off carrying a bag,” Kelly said.
“I went in to check on the attendant. He was pretty shaken up but got on the phone to the police. I was telling him about the scooter lying in the doorway when I saw the bloody guy come back to get it.
“I decided to get in my car and go and chase him. I couldn’t see anyone though so reckon he got in a car, as when he came back for the scooter, he didn’t have the bag.
“Anyone that does that is a real arsehole. I wish I had got him.”
The police said they had extracted fingerprints from the scene.
Petrol station franchise owner Sandeep Singh said he was upset for his staff.
“It’s really bad, staff safety is very important to me and this is my first concern,” Singh said.
“It is upsetting but my staff member also works as a security guard elsewhere so knew what to do.
“We recently installed two new cameras. But I am meeting with the Gull managers about safety.”
Gull New Zealand retail operations manager Graham Stirk is coming down from Auckland to meet with Singh next week.
“I think it’s a sign of the times,” Stirk said.
“We’ve had a phase of ram raids in Auckland and Waikato and now it has come down here. At least it is not a group of people doing it.
“It is random and sporadic.
“I’m coming down to catch up and see where we are at. Everyone’s getting together to work out making us less of a target.”
The petrol station continued work throughout the day, and was particularly busy due to unleaded 91 being sold at $1.88 per litre.
Petrol station manager Yarran Bajwa said, “we should be really happy but it started out very badly, which was a bit sad.”
In a media statement police described the offender as being in his 20s, of slim build and wearing a black puffer jacket with a hood, black track pants and black sneakers.
He was last seen heading towards Queen Street.
- Anyone with information can contact Police on 105 quoting file number 191024/8994 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.