Knifepoint robbery at Indian restaurant admitted

A Gisborne robber who swung a knife at an Indian restaurant employee and stole $6000 later told police he was prepared to use the knife.

If he had not had the knife, he would have needed to punch the employee in the face to gain his compliance, Hira John Wharepapa said.

Wharepapa, 26, pleaded guilty yesterday in Gisborne District Court to aggravated robbery.

On May 5, while armed with a knife, he robbed the Bollywood restaurant employee of cash.

Wharepapa was remanded in custody for sentencing. He will next appear on May 28.

The police summary of facts said Wharepapa was wearing dark glasses, a hooded jersey with the hood pulled up, and carried a handbag containing a knife with a 10cm blade, when he entered the restaurant though a back door at 1.30pm.

Wharepapa went to the gaming lounge where he pretended to play games while he watched the bar area.

No bar staff were present.

Wharepapa took the knife from his bag as he walked behind the bar where he attempted to open a cash register.

As he did so, the employee came out of the kitchen into the bar.

Wharepapa immediately presented the knife at him and demanded that the cash register be opened.

The employee opened the cash register and backed away.

Wharepapa grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back towards him.

The employee loaded cash into Wharepapa's bag as ordered.

Another staff member came into the bar and attempted to stop Wharepapa, who moved towards him with the knife.

The man went back to the kitchen and alerted other staff.

The first employee tried but failed to grab the bag of cash from Wharepapa.

Wharepapa tried to "slash" him with the knife before attempting to leave the restaurant through the back door.

The door had been locked, forcing Wharepapa to run through the gaming room to leave the premises by the front door.

The cash, consisting of both notes and coins, has not been recovered.

Gisborne Herald

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