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Stabbing leaves shop owners ‘scared’ to serve

A Waihī family is facing each workday with apprehension, after an aggressive incident at their business left the owner with stab wounds. 

On July 29, a shirtless 24-year-old man entered their shop and approached the counter.

The owner, who asked to remain anonymous for his family’s safety, said he was in the storeroom when he heard the door chime. 

“He was just a regular fellow so I didn’t bother to look at him, or profile him like what he was wearing,” the owner said. 

“I just looked into the camera, and as soon as I looked in the camera I was just held from [my shirt] and I was just pulled in front of him.

“And then I figured out, okay, he has got something in his hand.” 

The item in the intruder’s hand was a walking stick with a knife attached to the end of it, he said.

During the scuffle, the intruder swung the stick at the shop owner, striking him in the side. The owner, who wanted to remain anonymous for safety reasons, was later taken to Waikato Hospital, where he received three stitches.

Managing to pull himself away, the owner set off the fog cannon and alarm. The intruder was turning back towards him, he said, but once he saw the fog he ran out of the shop. He was later taken into custody by Police on the corner of Gilmour St and Johnston St, after a member of the public reported a man carrying a weapon. 

The intruder was a local known to the shop owner, who said he never expected to be approached in this way. 

“He didn’t utter any single word,” the owner said. 

“As soon as anybody comes, what we do is [say] ‘hey, hello, how are you?’ That’s what I did and he didn’t respond.”

There was no demand or threat, the owner said, indicating he wasn’t planning a simple robbery. 

“He didn’t even grab a single bag of lollies,” he said. 

“[We’re] just assuming that he was not good at his mental health.”

The incident has left the whole family rattled. Although their shop is open for business, the owner said they are still wary and watchful. 

“I’m scared to come out to the counter at the moment,” he said.

“Same as my family, but we are just distracting our minds somehow because you have to do it, you know? Have to do something for our living.” 

The owner said he was grateful for the support of the community, who had rallied around in the wake of the attack. 

“I just really want to [give my] thanks to the community – they are big supporters of us,” he said.

Police said the intruder was due to appear in Hamilton Court this week. He appeared to have been involved in two separate assaults, and wilful damage to two residential properties, Police said.

Reports of wilful damage included a broken window and a broken security camera from a thrown object. 

By ALICE PARMINTER, Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air