Day­light rob­bery

Man hurt as gang hits to­bacco shop

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - BRI­ANNA TRAVERS www.crimestop­ bri­ @bri­an­na­travers

A SHOP­KEEPER has been taken to hos­pi­tal af­ter be­ing bashed with a ham­mer dur­ing a cig­a­rette store rob­bery.

The vic­tim’s son be­lieves the ban­dits are con­nected with a pre­vi­ous rob­bery in No­vem­ber on the Cig­nall to­bac­conist on Miller St, Thorn­bury.

Kevin Zhu said his fa­ther, Paul, 60, tried to de­fend him­self as four or five men con­verged on the store wield­ing a block-split­ting ham­mer at 11.50am yes­ter­day.

“They’d def­i­nitely been here be­fore be­cause they knew where ev­ery­thing was,” Mr Zhu said. “Ba­si­cally, they knew things they shouldn’t have. We don’t show peo­ple where our store­house is.”

Po­lice said the gang stole cig­a­rettes be­fore flee­ing in a dark BMW, leav­ing Mr Zhu with fa­cial in­juries. He is re­cov­er­ing in hos­pi­tal. Eye­wit­ness Stu­art saw the rob­bery take place. “Just wit­nessed an armed rob­bery in broad day­light on Miller Street, Thorn­bury,” he posted to so­cial me­dia.

One of the al­leged of­fend­ers was seen wear­ing a black hood with a white piece of ma­te­rial over his face.

Eye­wit­ness Grant Tay­lor, a former po­lice of­fi­cer from Western Aus­tralia, said he saw four of­fend­ers dou­ble-park a ve­hi­cle di­rectly out­side the shop be­fore run­ning in, wield­ing crow­bars and ham­mers.

“They were quite well cov­ered with head and face cov­er­ings and gloves,” he said.

“They came out car­ry­ing a bar or a crow­bar, and ham­mers, one was a block-split­ter ham­mer, which was left at the scene, they dropped that in their rush to get out. They were car­ry­ing a lightly coloured doona cover, which was loaded with stuff, mainly cig­a­rettes.”

Mr Tay­lor de­scribed the al­leged of­fend­ers as men who were tall with a slim build, but he couldn’t iden­tify their eth­nic­ity due to their en­tire bod­ies be­ing cov­ered.

A neigh­bour­ing shop keeper was seen run­ning across the street while the armed rob­bery was tak­ing place.

He kicked in the driver’s side rear door of the car, which was open, in an at­tempt to foil the bur­glary.

Mr Tay­lor said this made the armed rob­bers “flus­tered”, caus­ing them to run back into the store for a few sec­onds.

“It was only sec­onds but it felt like for­ever,” he said.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion can call Crime Stop­pers on 1800 333 000.

Im­ages of the men flee­ing af­ter al­legedly rob­bing the Cig­nall to­bac­conist in Miller St, Thorn­bury, yes­ter­day morn­ing.

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