A “traumatic” robbery left shoppers fearing for their own safety in an area previously described as a crime-free part of town.
Borehamwood Police are investigating after a man entered The Borehamwood Shopping Park in Theobold Street at around 5pm on Monday, March 10 and ordered a security guard to drop the moneybox he was holding outside Sports Direct, before picking the box up and running from the scene.
People said they were shocked by the robbery, but would not be put off visiting the shopping park out of fear the culprits could strike again.
One shopper, Carys, who has a three-year-old daughter, Olivia, said: “It’s quite terrifying when you hear these things have happened on your doorstep.
“It has scared me, because it’s usually quite busy here so there isn't much crime. For it to have happened when it's still light out is quite unsettling.
“However, I won’t let it stop me from coming out. If you let them scare you, they’ve won.”
Builder Rob Tunningley said: “I can’t imagine the panic the security guard must have felt. It sounds traumatic, and what people don’t realise is that this can have shocking effects on the witnesses, too.
“I’m still going to come here. The world doesn’t stop turning just because there was one robbery. You’ve got to support your local businesses too. You’ve got to live your life.”
An 86-year-old man, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s a good job people weren’t hurt. It always seemed like a nice and quiet area, you expect to be safe in broad daylight.
“I’ll admit it’s left me scared - nothing is safe anymore.”
Statistics show crime in the Borehamwood North area has gone down in the last year - in January 2014 there were no recorded burglaries.
This compared to both January and February 2013 where there were three recorded incidents in each month.
Borehamwood town councillor Simon Rubner, who sits on the Hertsmere Community Safety Partnership panel, said: “We’ve got a low crime rate in Borehamwood now, you just need to look at the crime figures to see that.
“It’s obviously quite a shocking incident but I’d say Borehamwood is a safe place. It always has been.
“We’ve also got a fantastic police force with a high clear up rate, so there is no reason for people to be afraid.”
Police are now trying to trace 28-year-old Harry Burchell, who is wanted on suspicion of robbery, in connection with the incident.
His last known address is in Stevenage but he also has links to Edgware, Burnt Oak, Barnet and Colindale.
They have also charged James Allen-Harvey, of Baldock Way, Borehamwood, with robbery. He has been sent for trial at St Albans Crown Court on March 27.