Armed robbery at Caltex Bombay

PHOTO: PETER KINLEY

Caltex Bombay was blocked off once again on Friday 9 February, following an armed robbery.

The offenders entered the building armed with a screwdriver.  Police confirmed the incident, saying, “At around 4am, four males were reported to have broken into a service station in Bombay.

No one was injured in the incident.”A Caltex spokesperson said the offenders, who were armed with a screwdriver got away with a small amount of cash, but no tobacco, thanks to a secure cabinet in place that prevented them getting access. There was a small amount of damage done to the store.  One Caltex staff member was in the store at the time of the robbery. “Fortunately they were not physically injured however they are understandably shaken,” the spokesperson said. “They’ve been given time off work and will receive counselling and support to help them recover from the traumatic incident. Our priority is the safety of our front-line staff and customers. These robberies put our communities at risk. When offenders choose to carry out a robbery like this they endanger the staff who are just trying to do their job and are often a member of their own local community.  We are thankful the staff member was not injured, but there is always an emotional toll taken on them and the other staff who work at the site. Everyone has a right to do their job safely and feel safe at work,” the spokesperson for Caltex said.

The service station had already put a range of security measures in place following two robberies in August last year, which they believe helped prevent the assailants taking anything of value. These security measures include bollards at the front of the store to prevent ram-raids and make it difficult to enter the store, steel bars over the night pay window, fog cannons that disrupt the view of robbers and give staff time to get to a safe place, expandable grills at the front doors, CCTV as a deterrent and also to help Police find the offenders, secure tobacco cabinet that offenders can’t break into.

“Following the incident, a site management will consider what we can learn and what additional security and safety measures we might take,” the spokesperson said.  Police say they have recovered a stolen vehicle that was used in the robbery and are following strong lines of inquiry.

Meanwhile Z Energy, who own the Caltex brand in New Zealand are in the middle of rolling out high security steel tobacco dispensing machines to 40 more Z branded service stations, following the successful pilot and installation of 50 in the Auckland region in 2017. The automated units are locked at all times with restricted access only. Z says its focus is on keeping robbers out but if they do get in there will be nothing of value to steal, meaning any robbers are wasting their time.Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Is it time to stop selling cigarettes?

Last year Z installed 50 steel dispensing tobacco machines at a cost of $15,000 each into stores where losses occurred.
This year another 40 will be installed according to Z. In the past Z stood to lose between $100,000 and $150,000 year due to cigarette thieves.
The high security machines are part of a range of measures Z has put in place to protect staff and to make their sites less desirable to attacks, including bollards, fog cannons, safe rooms, high definition CCTV systems and break resistant glass.
The company also uses a synthetic DNA spray, which can last up to ten days on skin and be traced back to the site.
Why are tobacco products targeted, and dairies and service stations robbed and ram raided?
Tobacco is as good as cash at the current price levels. Tobacco products have become such an expensive commodity and each year they are guaranteed to go up at least ten per cent due to tax hikes. A 20-pack of cigarettes now costs around $25.45 on average, and a 30-gram pouch of tobacco costs about $55.30. 100 packets of cigarettes retail for $2545. Your thoughts? yana@thepost.nz

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