Wellington CIB is continuing inquiries throughout the lower North Island today trying to identify and locate the gunman who assisted in the brief escape yesterday of Rimutaka Prison remand inmate Arthur William Taylor.
Taylor appeared in the Wellington District Court today charged with escaping from custody, three charges of presenting a firearm to law enforcement officers and three charges of kidnapping. He was remanded in custody until 5 April.
Detective Inspector Gary Knowles, head of Wellington CIB, urges people to urgently contact police if they have any information about the escape bid, or the identity or location of the accomplice.
"Part of our inquiries includes contacting people known to Taylor but we need public information too," Detective Inspector Knowles says.
Taylor was being escorted by three prison officers to a pre arranged meeting at a Manners Mall office about 2pm yesterday when the escape took place. A gunman emerged from the shadows of a first floor carpark in the office building and confronted the prison officers as they stepped out of the vehicle with Taylor.
A firearm was pointed to them and Taylor released - Taylor and the accomplice fleeing the building into the Manners Mall, Victoria Street and Manners Street area.
Detective Inspector Knowles says Taylor was found by police shortly afterwards in another carpark building between Edward Street and Willis Street. He had a few minutes earlier fallen through a ceiling cavity of toilets in a nearby commercial premises, surprising an office worker.
The accomplice is still on the run. He is described as a male caucasian in his 30s and, at the time of the incident, was wearing dark clothing, a dark beanie and a green fluro vest.
"We've now found the vest. It was found by a woman in Edward Street yesterday afternoon and she contacted us this morning once she realised it's possible significance," Detective Inspector Knowles says.
He says a detailed scene examination in the Edwards Street area is expected to take most of the day.