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Lim Yuen’s Sunburst Coffee Lounge was “destroyed” after a ram raid on August 10. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Ram raids: ‘It’s now my turn’

A Thames shop owner has said “everything went wrong” for an alleged ram-raider who attempted to break into his jewellery store and an adjacent cafe this month.
Police said the alleged offender, a 20-year-old male, was caught red-handed by patrolling officers from Paeroa around 2.20am on August 10, as he crashed into one store, reversed, then crashed into another.
He’ll be appearing in Thames District Court later this month.
Perry, who asked for his surname to be omitted, is the owner of Thames Jewellers on Pollen St.
He said he believed the alleged offender fled on foot empty-handed after being caught in the act by patrolling police officers.
“Everything went wrong for the guy. First, he went into the wrong shop, then the minute he hit us, the police car was there, the siren began, and he started running,” he said.
“One of the policemen was an athlete, so [catching him] was easy.”
Perry, whose store was also targeted by thieves around seven years ago, said he was “delighted” the cops were present at the time of the ram raid.
“I spoke to the Paeroa policeman and he said quite often they come and drive through the town… so it was perfect timing.”
However, after being made aware of the crime, Perry said his first thoughts were: “It’s now my turn”.
“Everybody was saying: ‘One day it’s going to be you’, so it was sort of like it was expected… not that it was wanted,” he said.
Lim Yuen, from Sunburst Coffee Lounge next-door, shared the same sentiments.
She and her family received a phone call from Perry the morning of the ram-raid, and were told: “the shop has been destroyed”.
“The police said [the alleged offender] might have thought my shop was Perry’s, but we thought he may have wanted the money from our till as well,” she said.
“You just don’t know what they might have been thinking.”
Lim said the ram-raid destroyed the cafe’s entire front facade, as well as a side wall.
She was told it could take six months to get it repaired.
“We’re quite disappointed because we’ve been through a lot with Covid-19.
“Put it this way, I like that he got caught.”
Waikato East Area Commander Inspector Dean Anderson earlier told The Profile that ram raid-like crimes caused “concern and harm” to the community, and would “not be tolerated”.
“Staff have focused hard on preventative patrols within commercial premises in our towns, given the frequency of recent ram raid type offences across the country and the impact this has on business owners and the community,” he said.