Judo-trained dairy owner sees off armed youths
A Levin dairy owner used his judo skills to fend off would-be robbers pointing a pistol at his head.
Playford foodmarket owner Tushar Patel was walking out of his Bledisloe St dairy at 1.25pm on Sunday when he saw four young men, two wearing balaclavas, about to enter.
He managed to dial 111 on his mobile before one of youths snatched his phone and tried to punch him in the face.
Thanks, Steve. Only in New Zealand!
A former judo competitor in India, he deflected the blow, grabbed his phone, and held on to his attacker's wrist.
He saw one of the group rushing towards him pointing what looked like a pistol at his head. "I thought, 'That is a bloody gun he has."'
The gunman threatened to shoot Mr Patel, prompting him to push the man he was holding towards the gunman and yell out to his neighbour to call the police. The group ran off.
"I was yelling loudly. I did not think they wanted to kill me – they wanted to rob me."
His wife, Vanita, praised her husband's bravery. "He is a little bit strong man," she said.
It was the third time the couple have been targeted. Two years ago a man threatened Mr Patel with a vegetable knife and demanded money. Mr Patel showed off a bigger knife he kept behind the counter, and the offender fled.
About two months ago a man in a balaclava, brandishing a screwdriver, demanded money before running off empty-handed.
Mr Patel urged dairy owners to be careful and protect themselves. His wife agreed: "They cannot treat you that way, steal like that, otherwise they do it every day. I am proud of my husband but I am scared now."
Two 16-year-olds had been caught, police said. The gun is thought to have been a BB gun.
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Apparently I misunderstood the location of this dramatic confrontation. Steve explained in an email:
Haha.I was wondering why these NZ-farmers were under almost incessant attack ...
A dairy is what kiwis call a corner store or a milkbar.
I realise in Australia a dairy is a cow farm :)