Thursday, 16 December 2004 - 5:01pm |
National News

Stolen car chases linked to car theft ring

2 min read

Simultaneous police chases of three stolen cars around the Waikato today have culminated in the arrest of one person who police believe may be part of a car theft ring.

The drama began at 9.45am today when a stolen Subaru WRX was driven through the exit barrier arms in the Centreplace carpark in Central Hamilton. The car was followed by police through Huntly, where it reached speeds of 145km/h on SH1 just north of the town.

While police were following that car, a Mercedes came into sight and rammed the driver's side of the police car before getting in front of the car, stopping and reversing at speed into the passenger's side of the car. The Subaru by this time had sped off north along the highway. The Mercedes also then sped off.

Meanwhile at the same time, another police patrol was involved in a pursuit which started in North Huntly. The stolen four-wheel-drive Subaru Forrester was being driven at high speed. The pursuit continued up SH1 where the stolen vehicle turned off at the Ohinewai/Tahuna off-ramp then headed south down the old state highway. Police continued to pursue the vehicle which then headed back towards Huntly. The chase continued through a residential area of Huntly. The stolen car then lost control and crashed through a fence, before coming to stop on the front lawn of a house. The driver of the car ran off and was captured after a lengthy chase across a paddock.

Police found the stolen Mercedes abandoned at the Onetia Rd motorway off-ramp further along SH1, not far from where it had rammed the police car. Police believe the people in that car were picked up by the Subaru, that was later found abandoned just out of Te Kauwhata.

The four-wheel-drive Subaru Forrester was stolen recently from a Te Aroha car-yard and had registration plates that were stolen off a car from Morrinsville.

Sergeant Blair Donaldson of Huntly police says a police scanner was found in the stolen Mercedes and it was likely all the occupants of the cars were in communication with each other. All the cars were today being fingerprinted and forensically tested.

Police were this afternoon talking to the arrested man, who is likely to face numerous charges. Inquiries were also being made in regard to the other people involved.

Mr Donaldson said it was likely that all the people involved in the incidents today were working together.

"They appear to have been working as a team and targetting upmarket and high-performance vehicles. We will be endeavouring to find out the identities of everyone involved in today's events."