Oamaru New World in south Oamaru was open for business as
usual after four staff were confronted by an armed burglar
early yesterday. Photo by David Bruce.
Four staff of the Oamaru New World supermarket were
''very courageous'' when they tried to calm a burglar armed
with a firearm, knife and hammer early yesterday while awaiting
the arrival of police.
After about an hour and a-half of negotiations with two
police officers, the man laid down his weapons and was
He was charged yesterday in the Dunedin District Court with
aggravated burglary, presenting a firearm to avoid arrest,
three separate charges of presenting a firearm and possession
of an offensive weapon (the knife). He was remanded in
custody until tomorrow.
The 62-year-old Oamaru man allegedly broke into the
supermarket about 4am by smashing a front door with the
hammer. He then confronted a baker and cleaner who were the
only staff in the building at the time, Sergeant Blair
Wilkinson, of Oamaru, said.
They were joined about 30 minutes later by another cleaner
and baker - making a total of two men and two women.
The last two arrivals contacted police.
''They made the very courageous decision not to escape,
staying with him [the alleged offender] to de-escalate the
situation by talking to him calmly and also to avoid anybody
arriving at work and not knowing what they were walking into.
''The staff were very levelheaded,'' Sgt Wilkinson said.
Asked if staff were being held hostage or could leave, he
said that was still unclear and inquiries were continuing.
There was no clear direction they could not leave.
However, the man did not face charges relating to detaining
people against their will.
Eight Oamaru officers, all armed, were involved from 4.39am.
A portion of State Highway 1 outside the supermarket was
closed. The Dunedin Armed Offenders Squad was activated, but
was stood down before arriving in Oamaru.
Two officers started negotiating with the offender and the
four staff were able to leave.
Sgt Wilkinson said the man laid down his weapons at 6.05am.
No-one was injured.
The supermarket opened at its usual time of 7am, although
bread production was delayed because of the involvement of
two of the bakers, New World owner-operator Justin Smith said
in a statement. He praised the quick action of his staff who
discovered the man and called the police.
Mr Smith and the staff involved declined to be interviewed.
BLACK BELT: Sean Choi has form as a judo champ. In 2011 he won a gold
medal at the Oceania Championships while fellow Metro Judo Club member
Shawnee Felton, right, won a couple of bronzes.
A Hamilton police officer who was attacked outside a legal highs store is a judo black belt, among the most lethal in the world.
Witnesses said members of an unruly mob taunted him, calling him Jackie Chan. They didn't know who they were dealing with.
Constable Sean Choi was on the beat outside synthetic cannabis
dealer U njoY during a tense and violent morning in Hamilton East on
Police said a member of the group approached Choi and tried to pick a
fight. The antagonist gave up on the first attempt yet returned minutes
later and tried again.
The man was arrested but another man allegedly joined the fray and jumped on the officer's back.
Choi has been a member of the Metro Judo Club since he arrived in New Zealand from South Korea as a teenager.
Head coach Terry Steenson said the alleged attacker was destined to
take flight: "We move in close. Where most people would back away it is
in our nature to move forward. We fight in their face. We fight inside
their arms and legs and a lot of our stuff is throws. Most guys wouldn't
know how to land from a throw or wouldn't know what's hit them when
they started flying through the air . . . it wouldn't have been
A shop owner, who asked to remain anonymous, saw Choi in action.
She said the policeman "dropped" a "huge, big guy".
"He picked him up, pepper-sprayed him and dropped him," she said.
"I looked at it and went, ‘holy s . . . '.
Choi does that kind of thing for fun. In fact, he gets his kicks
from lifting up and throwing men much bigger than he is, some up 130kg,
to the ground.
He's a third dan black belt, a former New Zealand champion, an
Oceania Champion and he was close to qualifying for the Olympics when he
dislocated an elbow a few years ago.
Mr Steenson said police work takes up a lot of Choi's time now, but
he still trains and helps children at the club improve their technique.
He's a good role model, Mr Steenson said.
"He's very humble - an awesome bloke. He's reserved, but when it
comes to his passions, judo and family, he's very passionate."
Grant Torrance didn't hesitate when he saw a police officer in trouble.
holder of a 3rd degree black belt in karate, the 54-year-old senior
manager for Hawkins Construction spotted a police officer backing away
during a violent confrontation with a young man on Main North Rd in
Papanui last week.
"Out of the corner of my eye I saw the policeman back-pedalling with this guy all over him," Mr Torrance said.
He stopped, leapt out and asked the officer if he needed a hand.
Constable Grant Stewart gave the okay and Mr Torrance used his karate skills to help subdue the aggressive offender.
was a bit of a scuffle," he said. "I locked him up and basically pinned
him to the ground so he couldn't do much. He was pretty well
Police said Constable Stewart had used pepper spray
in an unsuccessful attempt to subdue the man, but had been unable to use
his radio to call for back-up because the handset had been dislodged
during the tussle.
"He was a big guy about 6ft and solidly built and he was
cranking ... really wound up," Mr Torrance said. "You could see the
pepper spraycan on the ground. I didn't think about what I was going to
do, I just wanted the guy to stop."
Mr Torrance said he'd done
something similar about 15 years ago when he stepped in between two
people fighting, but was modest about his latest success.
"I was just Johnny on the spot. I stopped and gave a hand without thinking too much. It was the right thing to do.
"It's not the sort of thing you expect on the street at 7.15 in the morning."
He was uninjured in the fracas, but admitted "feeling pretty sore" the following day.
Mr Torrance said he was "delighted" to receive a letter from police a few days later thanking him for his efforts.
"It was great, but they didn't need to do that."
Inspector Derek Erasmus said police were "very appreciative" of Mr Torrance's help.
A 21-year-old was charged with disorderly behaviour, resisting arrest. Assaulting a police officer and possessing a knife.
77-year-old woman plays dead to scare off knife-wielding attacker
Police were yesterday patrolling nearby streets to the Papatoetoe woman's home.
Photo / Greg Bowker
Her arms bound and with a bedsheet tied over her head, a 77-year-old
woman played dead to scare off a masked man who attacked and robbed her
at knifepoint in a brazen daylight home invasion.
hunting the man who barged through the backdoor of the woman's
Papatoetoe home as she went outside to get her laundry at 1pm on
The elderly woman, who moved to New Zealand from Fiji
20 years ago, was bruised and in shock after the ordeal and her family
yesterday appealed to the public to help identify the "sick" assailant.
"I want that guy to be caught. If he's done it to her he'll do it to someone else," her son said last night.
Her son, who the Herald
has chosen not to name to protect the victim, described his mother's
terror and bravery as she fought against the burly intruder.
"She hardly opens the front door. It was at the back and as she opened the door he grabbed her, he had a knife in his hand."
said the large man, dressed in black and wearing a balaclava, gripped
his mother by her arms and pushed her into the nearest room, her
bedroom, and used an Indian silk scarf to bind her hands behind her
back. He also covered her face.
"The cover sheet from the bed, he put it on her head. There are bruises on her face. The knots were so tight on her neck.
really tough, she fought everything. He tried to do everything and she
was yelling at him, 'no, no, no'. After that he tried to pull her from
the bed and [he] dropped her on the ground and pulled her down the
"She stopped her breath so he thought she was dead. That's when he left."
woman lives with her son and his wife, who regularly make telephone
checks on her when they are not home. On Wednesday, her son phoned about
3pm and became worried when she did not answer.
"The first call
she didn't pick up, so I rang again in 10 to 15 minutes and she'd pulled
her hand from the scarf knot and was crying on the phone."
He dialled 111 and sped home from his Manukau workplace, arriving at the same time as police. "I helped the police untie her."
mother was taken to Middlemore Hospital where she stayed overnight for
full body x-rays and a CT scan. She returned home yesterday morning with
extensive bruising to her arms, neck and face, her son said.
The intruder stole cash, ripped the woman's valuable gold necklace from her neck and pulled thick gold bangles off her wrists.
But laptop computers and other valuables were left untouched.
family are worried about their mother's welfare and want to move to
"We were talking about the fear ... and I am just
thinking, 'How is she bearing this'?"
Police were dismayed by the attack, the latest in a spate of crimes targeting the elderly.
Sergeant Simon Beal of Counties Manukau CIB said: "We are appalled at
the violent nature of this crime during broad daylight."
appealed for anyone who saw suspicious behaviour in the area of Huia Rd,
Stonex Rd, Bernard St and Kimpton Rd to contact police.
November, a man faced charges after another 77-year-old Papatoetoe woman
was sexually assaulted in her home. The attack came only days after a
brutal home invasion in Pukekohe where an elderly couple were assaulted
and tied up and the sexual assault of an 87-year-old Hastings
grandmother who was dragged into her lounge while checking her mail.
Call Detective Sergeant Simon Beal of the Counties Manukau CIB on 09
261 1321 or speak anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.