December 10, 2023

‘Real Kaitāia stuff’: Community praised after public foil smash-and-grab at jewellery store

Watch: Northland jewellery store owner thankful after community spoil smash-and-grab.

A Northland man has praised the community after members of the public foiled an attempted smash-and-grab at a local jewellery store.

Knights The Jewellers on Commerce St in Northland was targeted in an alleged smash and grab on Thursday. 

While the store’s owner Adeline was having a birthday celebration, a young male entered the shop and used a hammer to smash a glass display cabinet, grab watches and race off.

But CCTV footage of the burglary shows there was an unexpected ending with a member of the public tackling the alleged robber to the ground. 

“He ran outside the store in a real hurry, as you can see on the footage. A 54-year-old gentleman sprang to attention, he had heard a noise and tackled him with a great tackle,” former owner of Knights The Jewellers, Monty Knight told AM on Monday.   

“Unfortunately, his foot slipped at the last moment, he told me he probably should’ve had better footwear on. As he crashed the man to the ground, his knee impacted the corner of our store and he’s got an exploded kneecap.” 

Knight, who is the father of owner Adeline, told AM the chase didn’t end there, with a 66-year-old man with a leg prosthesis going after the alleged robber. 

“This support has just been fantastic. There was a guy parking his car … however he saw what was happening, so he kept his car running instead of parking. He had his granddaughter in the back and started following the man down the street in his car,” Knight told AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green.

“The man (robbery) zoomed in and out of places and ended up on a back street. The guy worked out that’s probably where he would end up so he drove down that way and eventually came across him [the robber).” 

Knight said the 66-year-old man pulled up beside the robber and said, ‘stop, give that back, give all that stuff back’. 

“He stopped and took all the watches that he had on his person – there were several – and gave them in through the window to the granddaughter. They then returned to the store and bought the watches back to us,” he said. 

Knight told AM he’s extremely grateful for the communities support. 

“This is real Kaitāia stuff. Kaitāia comes in for a few bad strokes now and then but that’s not really fair. We have a great community, it’s a wonderful place to live and it should be first on the list,” Knight said. 

“It’s multicultural. It’s got a great population. Everybody knows each other and if something goes wrong and somebody comes and helps you and gives you support. So that’s the kind of community I like living in, lived here all my life and I don’t want to change.” 

Knight said the jewellery store has been in the family since 1931. He ran it for a number of years before his daughter Adeline took over. 

He told AM they’ve never had a smash-and-grab in their nearly 100-year history and was “very upsetting” for his daughter 

A police spokesperson said the robber was arrested and charged with shoplifting and will appear in Kaitāia Youth Court on Tuesday.  

The spokesperson added a male in the shop was injured in the robbery and was transported to hospital by Hato Hone St John with moderate injuries.

Knight said the injured member of the public, who Knight describes as a “hero”, is recovering from his injury in hospital. 

“He seemed very positive and very content with what he’d attempted to do,” he said. 

“He was disappointed that he hadn’t quite pulled it off. He said to me ‘I had hold of the guy'”.

Watch the full interview with Monty Knight in the video above.

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