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Multiple charges laid

A teenager is facing multiple charges after an alleged crime spree across the lower North Island.

The 18-year-old Aucklander accused of a smash-and-grab at Michael Hill earlier this month was remanded in custody after an appearance in Masterton District Court on Thursday.

Dontae Gray is facing a total of nine charges related to alleged offending over 10 days in Masterton and Palmerston North.

The most serious charges carried a maximum of 14 years in jail for aggravated burglary at Masterton’s Michael Hill on October 6, and two jewellery stores in Palmerston North on October 12.

Gray faced further charges for alleged offences committed on October 16 in Masterton, including assault, threatening with intent to steal, and failing to stop when signalled by police.

He made a first appearance in Masterton District Court on October 17.

Witnesses to the daylight robbery at Queen St’s Michael Hill said the brazen smash-and-grab sounded like a car crash.

Police subsequently made a public appeal for information, releasing CCTV footage of the getaway car.

Police said a teenager had entered the jewellery store on Masterton’s main street just before closing armed with a hammer.

The offender smashed a number of display cabinets and left with an unknown quantity of jewellery in a black Subaru Legacy saloon, police said.

The car reportedly drove down the sidewalk as it left the scene.

Gray was charged with “being armed with a weapon, namely a machete” with intent to enter Michael Hill Jeweller and commit an imprisonable offence, and driving a vehicle on Queen St in a dangerous manner on October 6.

The teenager also faced three charges related to offences committed in Palmerston North on October 12.

One charge, carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail, related to entering Dulux Trade Centre without authority and with “intent to commit an imprisonable offence”.

Two charges of “being armed with a weapon namely a paint roller pole” related to entering Pascoes and Goldsack & Co jewellery stores without authority and with intent to commit a crime.

An additional four charges related to alleged offending in Masterton on October 16.

Gray was charged with assaulting a person and demanding their vehicle keys with intent to steal the vehicle.

The assault carried a maximum penalty of one year in jail or a $4000 fine, while the theft charge carried a maximum seven-year jail term.

Gray was also charged with driving in a dangerous manner and faced a $10,000 fine for failing to stop while being following by a vehicle “flashing blue and red lights or sounding a siren”.

On October 16 police “sighted a person of interest” on Worksop Rd in Masterton.

Police said the vehicle was signalled to stop, but it fled with police units in the area tracking its location. “The vehicle was sighted turning into Mikimiki Rd and was subsequently spiked and the occupant dumped the vehicle and fled. He was arrested a short time later.”

An 18-year-old was arrested on an existing warrant and was due to appear in Masterton District Court on October 17.

Gray was remanded in custody on October 20 and was next due to appear on November 17 to enter pleas.

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