‘Please don’t use the gun’
A Porirua couple who survived an aggravated robbery feared their young son was going to be left an orphan as a man in a balaclava pointed his gun at them.
‘‘You have no idea how frightening it was. I just kept thinking please don’t use the gun,’’ Ally Haynes, owner of North City Tenpin with husband Chris, said.
‘‘We’re parents, we have a son. He could have lost both parents just like that.’’
The pair came face to face with the gunman just after 9am on Monday.
He had been hiding, and waiting for a staff member to arrive and unlock the doors.
‘‘I saw the staff member on the security camera and went down to let her into the building,’’ Ally Haynes said.
‘‘She screamed at me to run and I did. The gun was huge with a silencer on the end ... I ran and hid up the stairs.’’
Inside, the gunman yelled at her and two staff members to get behind the counter, stay on their hands and knees and not look at him.
Chris was left to follow the ‘‘calm and polite’’ gunman’s demands for money.
‘‘He was totally in control. We just reverted to training, kept calm, became submissive and did as we were told.’’
The gunman took the money and the victims’ cellphones before he made his getaway in Chris’ car.
He asked the staff to wait a couple of minutes before calling police – who the couple said were ‘‘phenomenal’’.
The man was nabbed less than 20 minutes after the crime was reported, and the stolen items recovered.
‘‘I was on the phone to the police and a cop car was coming over the Haywards and passed the guy. ‘‘It turned around and got him. ‘‘I couldn’t praise Porirua police enough. Everything worked as it was meant to and how they say it should work.’’
Chris Haynes advised other business owners to prepare for the worst by regularly talking to their staff about how to handle an armed robbery.
‘‘We don’t want to scare you, but you need to talk about it.
‘‘They need to be told ‘don’t be a hero’, nothing’s worth that.’’
Detective Constable Carl O’Donnell said the couple did everything right, which was not always easy.
‘‘It’s easier said than done, but if they can keep calm and try and take mental notes of the clothing, ethnicity and build of the offender, it can help us do our job.’’
The arrest of the man in such a short time was due to a team effort, he said.
‘‘It was a good result and helps with public trust and confidence that we’re doing our best.’’
Chris Haynes, owner of North City Tenpin in Porirua, said nobody should try to be a hero during an armed robbery.