‘Hero’ road workers tackle armed thief
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.