Armed hold-up drama
By GENEVIEVE ALLPASS
WHILE heavy media exposure is always good for a grand opening, it was not the way Peter Van Der Meer envisaged his first day on the job.
Driving to work yesterday morning, Mr Van Der Meer heard a radio report of an armed robbery at an address that sounded remarkably near to his new store, Rug Rage, at Tweed Heads South.
When he arrived at his Greenway Drive store Mr Van Der Meer was confronted with police cars, ambulance officers, media and policemen surrounding the Outdoor Furniture Specialist's store next to his new business.
An armed bandit had robbed an employee of the furniture store at knife-point, forcing him to open the till and hand over the contents.
The man, who is still at large, made off with a sum of money before police arrived at the scene.
Tweed Ambulance officers were called to assess the 38-year-old victim of the alleged robbery, who was shaken but not injured.
The incident happened about 8am, with the neighbouring store owners arriving as police searched the area for the bandit.
"Initially I wondered about our choice to open the store there," Mr Van Der Meer said.
"But what do you do? These things happen."
Undeterred, Mr Van Der Meer still opened his doors.
Andrew Mudge and Louise McMillan, coowners of nearby store Jigsaw Furniture, believe the man must have been watching the employee unload and prepare for the day while waiting for the chance to approach him.
"The man who was robbed was only new and I think he arrived early and the robber's walked in behind him with a knife," Mr Mudge said.
"Usually there's a girl there and she's supposed to be working tomorrow, but I don't think she'll want to come in after this."
"Its made me a bit worried so Andrew is staying with me today," Ms McMillan said.
Police have described the man as caucasian, about 40 years old, 190cm tall, wearing a green sloppy joe or bomber jacket, blue pants and white joggers.
Witnesses should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.