At 0425 hrs this morning the 7th April 2009 there was a burglary of the Four Square Store in the Main Street of Darfield. A member of the public heard the alarm when he was driving through the township and saw a grey 4WD Ute leaving the scene. He followed the vehicle into Bangor Road and lost contact with it near Homebush which is 6 kms from Darfield. He had rung Police on his cell phone and the local Police were called out.
Despite cordons at various key roads and intense Police patroling of the area for two hours the offender was not located.
Video footage of the burglary and the fact that the Grey 4WD was seen leaving the scene lead Police to believe that the offender is William Stewart.
There were no further confirmed sightings of Stewart after he was last seen near Homebush.
Police are continuing inquiries to locate Stewart and appeal for any sightings of him, suspicious behaviour or sightings of the grey Toyota Hilux 4WD to contact Police immediately on 111.
It is believed that Stewart is hiding in a rural area, well hidden from the public roads. He appears to be camping up during the day and coming out at night and committing offences. Offences have occurred throughout Canterbury.
Police still believe that Stewart is dangerous and should not be approached. he is a particular danger to Police. Inquiries to date indicate that Stewart probably has firearms and will use them to avoid arrest.
Police appeal to farmers and people working in rural areas in the wider Canterbury District to keep a look out for Stewart or the vehicle. Farmers should check areas of their farms not often visited or where he could be hiding and not likely to be seen in their normal days work on the farm for any signs of Stewart but should not approach him.
Police suggest to Stewart that he should give himself up to his Lawyer or the Police. He will be caught and he is making his predicament worse for himself the longer he continues to commit offences and evade Police.
Police are continuing to search areas where there have been possible sightings of Stewart. A search near Leeston was carried out this afternoon but Stewart was not located.
Senior Sergeant, Stewart MUNRO, Sub Area Commander
Selwyn Police District, CANTERBURY