Ram raids: Seven youths arrested after Paekākāriki shop ram raid

A composite image shows damage to the Paekākāriki village store and the car used to ram-raid it early this morning. Photo / Supplied / Bhavesh Morar

By Hamish Cardwell, RNZ

The owner of the Paekākāriki village store that was ram-raided last night says it caused up to $10,000 worth of damage.

Seven young people are in custody after they smashed a car into the shop, snatching cigarettes and other items.

The car took off but road spikes were deployed and it came to a stop further north at Raumati.

Store owner Bhavesh Morar said his shop’s front door and some glass frontage were shattered and would need to be replaced.

The store counter was also damaged and the group had stomped and trampled on stock, he said.

“I work seven days, it’s been six years since I’ve taken a holiday.

“We work really bloody hard to make a living, and someone comes in and does that to your livelihood – it sucks.”

There has been a spate of ram raids throughout the country this year.

Morar said he knew it would only be a matter of time before his business was targeted.

He said he had spent months lobbying the local MP, Barbara Edmonds, and trying to get agreement from the council for protective bollards to be installed but delays kept occurring.

“That’s why it makes my blood boil … because I was genuinely trying to be so proactive to avoid this and this could have been [avoided].”

He said he had been due to meet with Edmonds next week.

Edmonds said it “must be incredibly frustrating”.

“I have been in contact with local police this morning and … I thank [them] for their swift actions that have led to these arrests.”

Morar echoed that, saying the police had responded incredibly quickly.

Edmonds said she had been due to meet with Morar to discuss what support was available, and she understood he was discussing the installation of bollards with Kāpiti Coast District Council.

She said: “We are committed to addressing the increase in ram-raid style burglaries and other types of retail crime in communities.”

RNZ has approached the council for comment.

Act leader David Seymour said the government couldn't leave shop owners sitting and waiting in fear. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Act leader David Seymour said the government couldn’t leave shop owners sitting and waiting in fear. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Business owners ‘waiting in fear’

Act leader David Seymour said the government couldn’t leave shop owners “sitting and waiting in fear” as the ram raids continued.

He said that, on average, more shops were being ram raided than were being helped by the fund announced in May, which was intended to help protect small businesses against crime.

Not a single cent had yet been paid to shop owners from the fund, Seymour said, and people’s efforts to get bollards and strengthening put in front of their stores were being held up by bureaucracy.

“The government’s goal should be to make it as rapid and easy for shopkeepers to strengthen their defences as possible.”

Seymour said the government needed to impose harsher consequences for those caught ram raiding – for instance by giving courts the ability to make them wear ankle bracelets.

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