‘Hero’ road work­ers tackle armed thief

Auckland City Harbour News - - PUBLIC NOTICES - CA­TRIN OWEN

Auck­land road work­ers tack­led an al­leged armed rob­ber to the ground in a dra­matic cit­i­zen’s ar­rest.

A man had pointed a gun to­wards a Pon­sonby dairy owner, then fled the scene with $100, be­tween 10 and 10.30am last Mon­day, po­lice said.

Joseph Askari, who works at City Con­ve­nience Store in Pon­sonby Rd, said the shop­keeper ran af­ter the bur­glar be­fore the work­ers also gave chase.

‘‘The staff mem­ber was very shaken up . . . It was the first time it had hap­pened,’’ Askari said.

Six Water­care sub-con­trac­tors, who had been work­ing in nearby Franklin Rd, heard dairy owner Reza Askari’s cries for help.

Two staff – Wil­son Pae­wai and Clyn­ton Kight­ley – sprinted af­ter the man.

Their col­leagues Viane Ike­na­sio, Upokoina Glassie, Hi­ole Latu and Arthur Har­ris saw what was go­ing on and drove ahead in their van, be­fore jump­ing out to block the foot­path.

They talked to the man to dis­tract him, while Pae­wai and Kight­ley crept up from be­hind.

Then Kight­ley brought the man to the ground with a crunch­ing tackle.

‘‘I just hit him from be­hind, he didn’t know what was com­ing, so it a was a good sur­prise for him,’’ he said. Latu said the tackle was a sight to be­hold. The work­ers held down the al­leged rob­ber un­til po­lice ar­rived.

Askari’s father Reza Askari said he was ‘‘very grate­ful’’ to the men.

‘‘They are very kind guys, very nice peo­ple. I shouted for help and they came.’’

The men, from Brian Perry Civil and City Con­trac­tors, had been work­ing on sep­a­rat­ing the aged stormwa­ter and wastew­a­ter pipes in Franklin Rd and Colling­wood St.

Brian Perry Civil’s su­per­in­ten­dent, Kevin Con­nolly, said he was very proud of his team.

His 10-year-old daugh­ter, Ash­lynn, had made the work­ers card­board ‘hero’ badges to con­grat­u­late them.

De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Aaron Pas­coe said a 23-year-old man had been ar­rested over the in­ci­dent, which al­legedly in­volved an im­i­ta­tion firearm.

Pas­coe thanked the work­ers on be­half of the com­mu­nity and the po­lice.

‘‘Po­lice would never want any mem­bers of our com­mu­nity to put them­selves in harm’s way to hold a po­ten­tially armed of­fender but these two men have shown ab­so­lute brav­ery to help keep our com­mu­nity safe,’’ he said.

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