05 June, 2017

Self-defence in the News - No. 105

Shop staff wield cricket bat at shoplifter

Last updated 11:27, June 1 2017

A Hamilton greengrocer says he refuses to give in to shoplifters after his staff fended off a would-be thief with a cricket bat.

After the thief left, the next day the greengrocer said he received a threatening call from the man's relative.

A brawl broke out outside Harjit Singh's Vege King, Fairfield store on Tuesday after a man was asked to return stolen corned beef.

The man became violent, Singh said, punching his staff who resorted to returning blows with a cricket bat.

"He bloody steal stuff you know, and then he hit my staff. We don't want to hit anyone. We want to stop them you know."

A staff member suspected the man was pocketing cheese. He then alerted other staff when she saw him nab the corned beef.

He pushed her, and walked from the store. Outside, another Vege King staff member asked him to return the goods.

The man, "pretending to be like a boxer", threw a punch at his face, Singh said.

"After that, what can we do? Then we hit him too."

More workers, and the cricket bat, came from the back of the store to assist.

The end of the brawl was captured by a passer-by, who posted the footage on Facebook.

After a swipe at his head, the man walks away from the store - without the food, Singh said.

But the saga continued. On Wednesday, Singh said he received a threatening phone call from the young man's uncle.

"He said, 'oh, I want to fight with you'. I said, 'Okay, one on one? I'm ready ... you tell me the place.'"

The uncle's tone then changed and an apology was offered, he said.

Singh was growing frustrated with both shoplifters and police response.

"They came here and they pretended like nothing happened here."

A police spokesperson said the man had already left the scene when officers arrived. Police spoke to witnesses and enquiries are ongoing.

It was fortunate Vege King had a lot of staff during situations like this, he said.

"I feel sorry for the other people they're targeting. Last week, the Super Liquor … it's really, really bad you know."

Two doors down Heaphy Tce, Super Liquor faced a similar problem on Friday night.

A young man, masked with a red bandanna, entered the store and threw an empty backpack in front of manager Dev Bhardwaj.

He drew a long, single barrel weapon from his puffer jacket.

"It's bloody scary man, I had three customers in the shop," Bhardwaj said.

After 6pm, he is the sole shopkeeper in the small village shopping centre. Police responded in 10 minutes, he said.

It was the first time in six years he's faced a firearm, he said, but aggressive armed robberies aren't uncommon.

Three weeks ago, three young men entered the store and threatened him with a knife.

"We are basically in a dilemma, what can we do?"

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