A PHONE shop owner has told how armed robbers held a “big axe” to his head and threatened his customers during a raid.
The group entered Fone People, based on Harrogate Road in Greengates, at around midday yesterday (Saturday, August 7), forcing Naveed Arshad Khawaja and his two customers to the floor.
CCTV footage of the incident shows the group of four men – armed with hammers and an axe – ransacking the store and smashing up his displays.
One man holds out a plastic shopping bag while one of the robbers throws stock into it.
As the incident unfolds, two women attempt to escape but fall to the floor in fear after being urged to stay back by the masked men.
The group took every single phone, tablet and iPad in his store, Mr Khawaja reported.
Now, the shop owner is appealing for the public’s help to track down the culprits.
Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus, Mr Khawaja said: “Two girls came in and less than five minutes more a gentleman walks in wearing a mask. You wouldn’t realise as everyone’s wearing masks. He had goggles on. I thought maybe he was with the girls, I’m thinking he’s with them. They’re thinking that he’s my friend.
“Within two or three seconds, I said ‘Where are you coming? This is staff only’.
“He took a big axe out, he said ‘Shut the f**k up, sit down, put your hands up or I’m going to chop your head off’.
“I raised my hands, sat down and he kept the axe very close to me. He kept saying ‘Sit down!’.
“More guys came in, they came with hammers. They started smashing the windows and the display.
“He smashed all the counters and got everything. Within less than a minute they were out.
“I’m still mad. A 45-year-old person pushed into a corner, told to sit down, keeping an axe near my head, four guys just broke in breaking all my hard work for the past five years.”
The police recovered a suspected stolen Red Golf, believed to be on false plates, 10 minutes later in Apperley Bridge.
One of the customers was taken to the hospital to recover from shock, Mr Khawaja said.
If you recognise the men in the CCTV footage or have information that could help, contact West Yorkshire Police via 101, quoting crime reference number 13200397636 of August 8, 2020.
Mr Khawaja has expressed his thanks to the local community after they rallied round and sent their positive thoughts.
“Thank you very much for the support. They’ve been really kind, very beautiful souls,” he said.
“They are lovely people. Thanks to these kinds of people, you always think there’s some humanity still alive.”