Wednesday, 22 June 2005 - 3:00pm |
Auckland City

Police name wanted offender

2 min read

Auckland City Police investigating the murder of 58 year-old Bhagubhai Vaghela on Sunday night are working closely with neighbouring Police districts to try and identify or locate some offenders who've recently used firearms in aggravated robberies in the region.

At a media briefing held in Papakura this morning, Detective Inspector Steve Rutherford, head of the Counties Manukau CIB, said Police were urgently wanting to find and speak with Christopher Robert Smith, a 33 year-old Howick tattooist.

It's believed Mr Smith can help the Police investigation into the armed robbery of the Buckland's Beach Superette at about 8.15pm on Sunday June 6.

"This man is armed and dangerous and we need to speak to him as soon as possible," Mr Rutherford said.

"We'd also very much like to know who the man is who robbed, while armed with a rifle or shotgun, the Parkside Dairy on Queen St in Pukekohe at about 4pm on Friday June 10.

"It's possible that one of these men can help Det. Inspector Hollewand's homicide investigation team, but we won't know that until we are able to speak with them. One thing's for sure, none of us wants another senseless fatal shooting - anywhere."

Detective Inspector Hollewand urged members of the public to contact his inquiry team on 0800 736 325 with any information that might help solve the mystery of who shot and killed Mr Vaghela on Sunday night.

He said that of the 17 aggravated robberies in the Auckland City District from January 1 to June 10 this year where firearms had been presented to victims, 12 were at businesses and five were in public places. Alleged offenders had already been arrested and charged with at least four of those offences.

"The fact we're working together by sharing staff and information is nothing new. Operation Strike, where 280 charges involving nine principal alleged offenders relate to more than 160 offence files, was run as a joint operation between our two districts.

"Of those 280 charges, three relate to aggravated robberies where firearms were presented between October 2004 and February this year."


Issued by Noreen Hegarty

Auckland City Police Communications Manager

Ph 09 302 6947 or 0274-951-589