Teens crashed into Gas Eketahuna last Thursday night. PHOTO/ALEYNA MARTINEZ

Teens’ destructive joyride
Teens arrested, police still seeking a third offender after crime spree

ALEYNA MARTINEZ
aleyna.matinez@age.co.nz

Two teenagers were found hiding on the roof of Lakeview School in Masterton after a crime spree last week which involved car thefts, ram raiding Eketahuna’s petrol station, and reversing into a police car.

Police are still trying to find a third person involved.

Wairarapa Police Response Manager Senior Sergeant Jennifer Hansen said the spree began when the teens stole a Mazda Bounty ute from Palmerston North.

Heading south to Eketahuna, they then stole a Mazda Demio from Eketahuna resident Denise Clifton, who said she had left “bugger all gas in it”.

The teens must have realised they would not get far in her Demio and that was probably the reason why they left it in town, after ram raiding Gas Eketahuna, she said.

After retrieving their stolen goods, they then returned to the stolen Mazda Bounty and continued south to Masterton.

There, they stole a Toyota Surf from a Churchill Ave property, ditching the Mazda Bounty, Hansen said.

A short time later, police saw the stolen Toyota Surf on River Rd with the offenders inside it.

Police tried to stop it on Makora Rd, but the vehicle only stopped briefly “before reversing into the front of the patrol car”, Hansen said.

The patrol officer was not injured but the vehicle suffered some damage to the front, Hansen said.

A short pursuit then ensued before the vehicle drove into Lakeview School grounds.

There, the offenders fled on foot.

Police used the assistance of a dog handler who successfully tracked down two of the three on a roof within Lakeview School grounds.

The two caught were arrested.

Police retrieved cash and MTA vouchers which were stolen from Gas Eketahuna.

Clifton said the youths’ joy ride had resulted in massive consequences for others, which they probably hadn’t considered.

Her car was written off because it was being driven into the glass doors at the petrol station and was not insured, Clifton said.

Clifton felt the crime had struck Mokesh and Mausami Patel, owners of the GAS station, the worst because her car was “only $1500”.

But their bill was going to be a lot higher, she said – from $18,000 to $20,000.

“They’ve lost stock, windows, insurance excesses.

“There’s also that inherent concern – is it going to happen again?”

She said she had been overwhelmed and “truly humbled” after people from her community in Eketahuna and throughout Wairarapa had pitched in to offer her a replacement vehicle for her Mazda Demio.

“I won’t be out of a vehicle for long so I’m feeling very blessed in that respect,” Clifton said.

“We are a small town, we are a community, and we’ve just got to keep supporting our local people more than anything.”

Clifton said the Patels were a huge support to Eketahuna and always sponsored school sports uniforms and other events such as the cheese festival.

The two teenagers who were arrested have been remanded in custody and were due to appear in the Palmerston North District Court on September 25.



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