Frightening scenes as masked men terrorise Westfield shopping centre
Masked robbers terrified shoppers at a busy New Zealand shopping centre when they smashed the windows of a jewellery story in a brazen daylight robbery captured on video.
At about 5pm on Tuesday, approximately eight robbers entered Stewart Dawsons jewellery store in Westfield St Lukes, Auckland. They started smashing windows and shelves with batons, before snatching expensive jewellery and fleeing, the NZ Herald reports.
The attack, reportedly lasting 45 seconds, was caught on camera and posted to TikTok. The video showed frightened shoppers stunned by what was happening, and one robber threatening an elderly man with a baton.
A few brave people were heard shouting "get out", and two tradesman were seen running after the masked robbers dressed in tracksuits.
According to the NZ Herald, a worker at the nearby Max fashion store heard the commotion and rushed outside before rolling down the shutters of her store and ushering customers into the back room. Nearby workers at Muffin Break fled after hearing screaming. They believe it was the third time the jewellery store had been targeted.
Several ambulances responded to the incident but there were no reported injuries. No arrests have been made yet, police told NZ Herald.
It was confirmed no firearms were used.
A vehicle believed to have been used by the offenders was found a block away from the shopping centre, with blood splattered down the side and some jewellery lying next to the car, the publication reported.
TikTok users react to robbery at Westfield St Lukes
In just one day a TikTok video capturing the terrifying moment received more than 21,000 views, with locals commenting on the "feral" situation and applauding the courage of some shoppers who tried to intervene.
"I feel so bad for the staff, it must have been so scary," one person said.
"This is new normal for New Zealand now," another commented.
Smash and grab robberies and ram raids have spiked by a dramatic 400 percent in the past five years, the country's Newshub outlet reported.
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