WATCH: Masked robber threatens Norwich shopkeeper with gun
PUBLISHED: 16:27 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 07:55 11 January 2019
This is the moment an armed robber wielding a gun and hammer threatened a lone shopkeeper in Norwich - but made off empty handed.
Police are linking the attempted robbery of the Kwiksave store on Larkman Lane with a home invasion two hours earlier, when three men forced their way into a house and stole a wallet and handbag.
Around 9.15pm on Wednesday, a man clad in a skull mask and wearing gloves entered the Kwiksave store, brandished what appears to be a gun and told the shopkeeper to empty the till.
Manager of the store Rajiharan Arulampalam, known as Raj, was alone in the shop at the time and grabbed a broom handle to defend himself.
“When I saw the gun I just panicked,” he said. “He came in and started pointing the gun at me and asked me to open the till.
“I just said ‘ok, wait’, and tried to get my phone from where it was on charge to call the police.”
When the attempted robber clambered over the counter, Mr Rajiharan ran through the stock room and out into the street, in a bid to lock the man inside the store until police arrived.
“I ran to the back of the store and went outside, as I spoke to police on the phone,” he said.
“I didn’t realise if it was a real gun or a toy gun but I didn’t want to take the risk.”
The would-be robber tried to open the till and failed, leaving empty handed.
The till had been empty at the time anyway, said Mr Rajiharan.
“I would have tried to lock him in the shop if there had been other people around,” he added.
“I just wanted to grab my phone so I grabbed the broom stick to threaten him until I could get away. The stick was too big to reach over the counter so I might cut it down in case this happens next time.”
It was the first time anything like this has happened in the three years he has been running the store, Mr Rajiharan said.
Less than two hours earlier, a man fitting the same description and wearing a skull mask had been involved in an aggravated burglary on Theobold Road, the other side of the city.
At around 7.30pm the occupants of the address answered the door to three men who pushed their way in and demanded money.
One of the men was armed with what is being described as a gun while another man was carrying what is believed to have been a hammer.
One man inside the house was assaulted with the hammer, but his injuries are not believed to be serious.
A handbag and a wallet were stolen before the three men left the property on foot.
Detective Inspector Chris Burgess, of Norfolk Police, said: “We are in the early stages of our investigation but we are linking these incidents and our enquiries are ongoing.
“Extra officers will be patrolling the area to reassure local residents and anyone with concerns are encouraged to speak to them.
“I would urge anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in either location last night to contact police.”
Anyone with information should contact Norwich CID on 101.
Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or via their website www.crimestoppers-uk.org.