Teenagers receive death threats in broad daylight attack on Auckland store
A shop owner in a central Auckland suburb had a knife pulled on him and his wife in broad daylight yesterday by two teenage girls.
The assailants told him they would kill him for more than a hundred dollars worth of shisha products, which look like cigarette packs.
Within a 200 meter radius of Sandringham Road, three different shops are closed, having been burglarized or raided in the past fortnight.
Stolen cars and weapons are used to steal tobacco, vapes and alcohol. According to police, the vast majority of ram raids are carried out by teenagers.
Subhash Batra owns a vape shop on Sandringham Road in Auckland. The two young girls came in with hoodies and masks yesterday at 2:30 p.m.
“I was standing here and one of the girls pointed a knife at me and said ‘stand back or I’m going to stab you,'” Batra said.
“So I spoke to the girl like she was my own daughter. I said ‘what the fuck are you a schoolgirl, why are you trying to ruin your life? For the love of God, don’t do that,’ but she wasn’t bothered.”
The other girl started putting shisha products, which look like cigarette packs, in her bag.
“My wife pushed her and stopped her from doing this. The other girl with the knife pointed at her [at] my wife and said ‘I’m going to hit you, I’m going to kill you'”.
They had a fight, neighboring traders arrived, and the girls ran away. Subhash and his wife were not injured.
Everything was captured in CCTV footage.
“It’s scary, but I’m sorry to say, when we arrived in New Zealand, we were told it was a crime-free country. We opened the store in October 2021, and so far five times [we’ve been robbed]“, said Batra.
Police say in the 12 months to October last year there were 283 ram raids across the country, more than five a week.
Eighty-eight percent of them were teenagers or even younger children.
Only 42% of offenders were found – the majority fled.
It came as no surprise to Kshitij Vatsa, whose dairy a few hundred meters from Batra’s shop was raided a week ago by teenagers.
They crashed through a bollard with a stolen car and smashed the front door.
“The damage I think would be no less than $20,000 or $30,000,” Vatsa said.
In addition to the damage, a few thousand dollars worth of cigarettes were taken away.
Vatsa no longer had her children hanging around the back of the store for security reasons.
“I heard that only teenagers [doing the ramraids]. I think there were nine kids in my store when it happened, I think two or three girls and six boys. What I know from the police is that it was an 11 year old girl who was driving. It’s quite sad, children of 11 or 12 committing thefts like that.”
The police managed to apprehend the nine occupants after being followed by the police helicopter. Two of the offenders were scheduled to appear in youth court. The other seven offenders were referred to youth assistance.
Down the road, a closed liquor store was raided two weeks ago, store owner Anna said.
“We are worried. We work so hard, we pay taxes. But now I think New Zealand is no longer safe. Even if the police catch them, [would] they do?”
Batra said children and teenagers involved in the attacks had no fear of the police. In fact, they bragged about it online and basically made fun of the police, he said.
He mentioned a theft from his shop earlier this year.
“Young guys, they recorded the whole procedure amazingly with their own phone. [They] made a video, went home, posted the [stolen goods] and posted it on social media, on TikTok. Surprising! They issue a challenge to the police – “Look, we did it”. You can’t do anything to us.”
Sandringham is a vibrant and multicultural part of town. There are many immigrants and second generation New Zealanders living in the suburbs and there is a strong Indian influence.
These traders say their sense of security has recently diminished and they wondered if they should close up shop.