A woman has spoken of her terrifying ordeal when she was robbed at gunpoint at a Deer Park shopping centre last week.

Amie Mitchell, 51, said she was walking to her car inside Brimbank Shopping Centre’s underground car park on Thursday when a man on a bicycle approached her and pointed what appeared to be a gun at her chest.

“I’m talking to my nephew [on the phone]… and the next thing I know he was there with a gun, he was on the bike, and he grabbed something and he said ‘where is the money’ and pointed the gun at me,” she said.

“I said ‘it’s in there’… I was so terrified and I don’t know whether to run or scream, because I had nowhere to go.

“At that moment, what was in my head was my daughter, I thought I was going to die in that moment. It was so terrifying.

“He grabbed my handbag and the green shopping bag, which had all the shop takings, which I brought home with me because I was running late,” Ms Mitchell said.

The Altona Meadows woman had just closed the Muffin Break shop she co-owns when the offender struck about 9.30pm. She was about to head home to celebrate her daughter Holly’s birthday, who turned 15 that day.

Ms Mitchell said the offender pushed her over before riding off on his bike. But he didn’t get further than 10 metres before falling over, she said. His second attempt proved worse. He then rode into a pole, dropped his “gun”, which was revealed to be a toy when it smashed into pieces.

Ms Mitchell ran to get help. She was later able to retrieve her handbag that had been thrown on the side of the road near the shopping centre, but he’d made off with her purse and the shop’s takings of about $1300.

She said her Muffin Break shop was robbed a few months ago. Coupled with the latest incident, she now wanted to sell her share in the business. “I haven’t felt safe since January. I’m tossing and turning in bed, when I close my eyes, I see him, he was wearing a mask covering his face,” she said.

Senior Constable Belinda Mewha, from the Brimbank Embona taskforce, said Ms Mitchell’s ordeal has a number of parallels to an incident four days earlier in St Albans. Detectives believe the two are linked.

She said on Sunday, February 12, a man riding a bike held up a St Albans Road petrol station with what appeared to by fake gun, and fled with about $250.

“We are currently investigating a very similar armed robbery, where again the offender was on a bicycle and produced what we believe was a black toy handgun,” she said.

Senior Constable Mewha said the offender could be local and it was likely he would reoffend. “His attacks are targeted, it’s very brazen,” she said.

Anyone with information about the incidents is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.