The till was found in the grounds of Whitiora School, but police were still looking for the robber. Shopkeeper Ajit Singh Sagoo, 79, of the Ulster St Superette in Whitiora, was beaten in the robbery, about 7.10pm on a Friday night.
Now his concerned family is asking him to retire and has closed the shop, which Sagoo has owned since 1975.
He had just finished counting some of the money in the till when the robber, who was wearing a balaclava, came into his store. “He threw a bag on the counter and said ‘money, money’ and then put a gun to my head. I looked up and suddenly realised the gun was not a real one – I could easily recognise that.”
At first, Sagoo thought someone was playing a practical joke. Sagoo reached for the man, who punched him in the chest so hard he fell back into the shelves behind him and hit his head and shoulder. “He started moving and grabbed the till,” Sagoo said. “He pulled it with a strong jerk and all the wiring broke. Then he ran away, with the till, towards the doors.”
Sagoo grabbed the phone and followed the robber outside and saw him running towards the school. He then called police. Police have CCTV footage of the incident.
Although the business had been subjected to petty theft in the past, they had never experienced an incident of this magnitude before.
A previous aggravated robbery took place in Hamilton earlier and police were looking at links between the two. Two men armed with a knife robbed Cheep Liquor in Claudelands. Police also have video footage of that incident.