November 29, 2023

West Auckland vape store says they were denied fog cannon assistance before armed robbery

A west Auckland vape store says they were denied fog cannon assistance before an armed robbery.

Police have arrested two teenagers after a robbery at a vape store in west Auckland on Friday night.

The owners say they have been unsuccessfully applying for assistance to install a fog cannon because they own too many stores so don’t qualify as a ‘small business’.

When a person dressed in gloves and a black mask appeared in the store the shop’s employees hurried to the very back corner of the building as shown on CCTV.

But reappearing moments later the masked intruder now holding sharp objects in his hands signalled for the workers to move even further away into a storage room. Out the front others in masks could be seen carting away boxes and boxes of vapes.

“One had a knife and a hammer, the one that was coming charging at us had like a long screwdriver, and he had a spanner in his hand,” said Naresh, the director of operations for Vapey’s Vape Store.

Naresh said it was near closing time around 8pm last night when the group of intruders arrived at his Henderson vape store.

They allegedly took a number of boxes of packaged wholesale goods ready to be picked up by courier, each worth as much as $4000.

Naresh said all but one of his seven stores have been robbed before and that’s why he’s installed his own safety measures.

“Security for all my shops, all spent myself, didn’t use the taxpayers’ money, didn’t use government money, each store, $25,000.”

But when Naresh sought out fog cannon assistance from Police his store didn’t qualify because it hadn’t been targeted before last night.

He was also turned down from the Government’s separate fog cannon subsidy because with seven stores he’s not considered a ‘small retail business’.

“Whether they are one store or 10 stores, they are in business, they are doing business, and the offenders are attacking them, and they should qualify for any government support,” said Dairy and Business Owners Group chair Sunny Kaushal.

Small Business Minister Ginny Anderson said this week the 500th fog cannon was installed through the subsidy scheme which focuses on the most vulnerable business owners.

Police say they apprehended two people following last night’s incident, a 15-year-old and a 19-year-old. The 15-year-old was due to appear in the Waitakere Youth Court on Saturday, the 19-year-old in the Waitakere District Court. But police say enquiries are ongoing.

Now that this store has been targeted Naresh is going reapply for the Police scheme while his shaken staff try to recover.

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