Shell Station owner John Hurley watches the security surveillance recording, which shows one of two offenders.
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Police are searching for two girls who held up the lone attendant of a Wanganui service station at gunpoint on Sunday night.
A young woman with a gun entered the Shell Service station on Dublin Street at 8.50pm.
Station owner John Hurley yesterday showed the Chronicle a security camera recording of the robbery.
The robber was small, slim, dressed in black, wearing a balaclava, carrying a pink pillowcase in one hand and pointing a pistol with the other.
She leapt the counter waving the gun at the male attendant and forced him to out to the back of the shop.
The attendant, who ironically had just completed a course on what to do in an armed hold-up, at first thought someone was playing a joke on him, another staff member told the Chronicle.
This was because the young woman had carried out the robbery exactly as they had been shown in examples on the course, he said.
Mr Hurley said the attendant had soon realised the girl was for real and stayed put out the back, which was exactly the right thing to do.
The armed robber went to the cash register and took the takings, then started filling the pillowcase with cigarettes, tobacco, cigarette papers and lighters.
While she busy filling the bag a man walked in.
He was confronted by the robber and sent at gunpoint to the back of the shop where the attendant was.
A second customer, a woman, came into the shop but when the robber confronted her she went back out the front door.
The robber continued filling the pillowcase with cigarettes and shortly afterwards a second robber appeared carrying a crowbar.
This second woman was of bigger build and heavily dressed and masked in black.
As the two left the service station they grabbed chocolate bars and ran off in the direction of Pitt Street.
The robbery was timed on the surveillance tape at 4 minutes.
Wanganui police Detective Sergeant Neil Forlong said no one was hurt.
“The service station attendant and the customer involved did exactly the right thing by complying with the robber’s instructions. They were obviously a bit shaken up and have been referred to Victim Support.”
Mr Hurley said the safety of the staff was uppermost which was why the company ensured all staff members were sent on special courses so that they know what to do if there was a holdup.
On the course staff are told that there is a possibility of an assault or an armed robbery every six months in a service station because service stations were seen as soft targets, he said.
One male staff member due to work last night, who had recently started at the Shell Station, was feeling nervous about working the evening shift, a staff member said.
“Because he had already experienced a holdup at the service station where he worked before and had left because of it, so he’s a bit scared now.”
From last night the Shell station was in “lockdown” from 7pm and would be every night, Mr Hurley said.
The main doors and the shop will be locked and people will have to make their purchases at a window through a metal slot and safety grill.
Mr Forlong said the female customer who came into the shop and was confronted by the robber had still not been identified.
“We’re very keen to talk to her.’’
Police also want to speak with anyone who saw any people acting suspiciously in the area of the Shell Dublin Street between 8.30pm and 9.30pm, or may have information about cheap tobacco products being offered for sale.
Anyone with information can contact Detective Sergeant Neil Forlong on (06) 349 0652 or leave a message at the Wanganui Police Station on (06) 349 0600.