Saucer-wielding shopkeeper scares off robber

Old Town Store owner Utia Lafita holds the saucer she used to scare off a would-be  robber. Photo...
Old Town Store owner Utia Lafita holds the saucer she used to scare off a would-be robber. Photo: Tom Kitchin
Cromwell dairy owner Utia Lafita says she was not afraid during  an attempted armed robbery at her shop in Old Cromwell on Friday night, she was just "very, very angry".

"I don’t know what happened. The people here are very friendly, this was just out of the blue."

About 8pm on Friday,  Mrs Lafita, the owner of Old Town Store in Achil St, was minding her shop when a male dressed in dark clothing and wearing a balaclava walked in.

"He was covered from head to toe, it was only his eyes I could see. As a human being, I thought he was just very cold."

Mrs Lafita (64) assumed he was going to buy something, as he walked over to the chocolates at one side of the counter and began to stare at them.

"Less than a minute later, he turned around and said ‘Give me your money’."

She saw what looked like a gun in his hands.

"I leant over the counter and said ‘What?’. My heart was bubbling."

Mrs Lafita tried to find something to throw at him, but all she had at the counter was a small saucer.

"I held [the saucer] up and he ran out and around the corner."

Mrs Lafita was uninjured and did not give the man any money.

But she could not work out how to use her phone. Luckily, her daughter arrived about 10 minutes later and called the police.

Mrs Lafita said her family had been in Cromwell for three years and this was the first kind of robbery she had witnessed.

She thanked the Cromwell community for their support.

"The next morning,  I opened up the shop and the first person was so upset and unhappy and asked what happened."I feel so honoured. They feel what I’ve been through. They are caring people."

A police spokeswoman said the man could have been holding a small firearm or an imitation firearm.

Cromwell police  (03) 445-1999; Crimestoppers  0800 555-111.


OK Utia ...

Firstly, I am extremely glad to hear that you didn't get hurt ... apart from a having a "bubbly heart" for a while !

Secondly, PLEASE don't go trying to frighten off any future would-be robbers with a saucer ... I'd hate to see you get hurt, or worse, if it did happen to be a real robber with a real gun.

Thirdly, you must be pretty shaken up after that event and I'd like to offer you a free security camera for your shop. It may not be the latest Hi-tech version available, but it would, or could, help the Police identify any scumbag that tries it again.

Unfortunately, I live in Dunedin and it would be a week or so before I could get up there, but I'm happy for the ODT to pass on my contact details to you if you take me up on the offer.

Finally ... to the would-be "gangsta" from Friday night ... honestly ... scared of a 64 year old girl with a saucer ... you really haven't got a pair big enough to be a criminal, with the number of people laughing at you, I'd seriously consider a career change and try out as a comedian ...

Do yourself a favour and visit the local Police station so they can take one of their "10 most wanted" posters off the wall.