A stolen car has been used as a battering ram to break into a Palmerston North petrol station, with at least five offenders focusing their thievery on the till and tobacco.

But the high-risk raid could only net them just over $100 and some bags of chips, as the cigarette cabinets proved too tough for the offenders’ tools.

The Challenge station on State Highway 57, at Longburn, was broken into at 2.45am on Monday.

Three vehicles were used in the burglary, with one – a stolen car – reversed into the station, smashing open the front doors.

A group of youths raid Challenge on State Highway 57, Longburn, on Monday morning.A group of youths raid Challenge on State Highway 57, Longburn, on Monday morning.

They were wearing dark hoodies, with masks, caps, and one was wearing a single skeleton glove.

Hammers and bolt-cutters were used to free two tills, netting them just over $100, but they were unable to open the cigarette cupboard.

They were in and out in about 100 seconds, but the cleanup would take hours, station owner Greg Towers said.

He had been asleep next door when the raid woke him up. He had been dealing with the aftermath since 3am.

It was more of an inconvenience than anything else, he said.

“I just want to go to sleep. But that’s life, things could be worse. No-one was injured, so that’s all that matters.”

Towers said it had been eight years since his station had last been burgled.

“They didn’t even really get anything, just two cash drawers and some chippies. But they did a whole lot of damage, like thousands and thousands of dollars worth.”

Police are investigating a ram raid at the Challenge petrol station in Longburn overnight.Police are investigating a ram raid at the Challenge petrol station in Longburn overnight.

Constable Mike Quinn was at the scene inspecting the security camera footage and taking fingerprints just after 8am.

It was difficult to identify who the people were as their faces were covered with masks, but the footage suggested the culprits were teenagers.

The offenders rushed inside, targetting tills, cigarettes and potato chips.

They were wearing dark hoodies, with masks, caps, and one was wearing a single skeleton glove.

Hammers and bolt-cutters were used to free two tills, netting them just over $100, but they were unable to open the cigarette cupboard.

They were in and out in about 100 seconds, but the cleanup would take hours, station owner Greg Towers said.

He had been asleep next door when the raid woke him up. He had been dealing with the aftermath since 3am.

It was more of an inconvenience than anything else, he said.

“I just want to go to sleep. But that’s life, things could be worse. No-one was injured, so that’s all that matters.”

Towers said it had been eight years since his station had last been burgled.

“They didn’t even really get anything, just two cash drawers and some chippies. But they did a whole lot of damage, like thousands and thousands of dollars worth.”

Police are investigating a ram raid at the Challenge petrol station in Longburn overnight.
MAXINE JACOBS/STUFF
Police are investigating a ram raid at the Challenge petrol station in Longburn overnight.

Constable Mike Quinn was at the scene inspecting the security camera footage and taking fingerprints just after 8am.

It was difficult to identify who the people were as their faces were covered with masks, but the footage suggested the culprits were teenagers.

The car used in the ram raid had been stolen. Quinn would dust it for fingerprints later in the day, once it had been taken to Crash Services.

Towers had insurance, but due to high excess he expected to pay the majority of the recovery costs himself.

Once police had finished the scene investigation, he hoped to find some new tills and reopen his business.

Extracted in full from: Petrol station ram-raiders come away with $100 and potato chips | Stuff.co.nz

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