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Robbery suspect chased down

Officer assaulted, police car rammed

Police officers stand outside the Johnstone St property the suspected robber crashed into. PHOTO/ELI HILL

ELI HILL

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Headbutting a police officer, ramming a police car, and smashing into a concrete fence – the suspect in the knifepoint robbery of Masterton’s Gull petrol station didn’t go quietly.

At just after midday on Friday a police officer spotted the 18-year-old local man driving a blue Mazda car with cardboard plates on First St in Lansdowne.

The police gave chase, but due to the dangerous driving of the man, which included driving on the wrong side of the road, the officer pulled out.

Police started a search and put up cordons to limit the man’s movement.

He was spotted in Cameron Crescent, not long after a second pursuit started up.

The man rammed a police car, then did burnouts along River Rd, before spinning out of control and smashing through a concrete fence on Johnstone St, sending blocks of concrete across the lawn.

After leaving his car, the man ran around the back of the property he’d crashed into.

The nearby Makoura College went into lockdown as the man jumped over fences into neighbours’ yards before he was tracked down by a dog unit brought in from Wellington to find him.

While officers attempted to arrest him, the man headbutted an officer, leaving marks on the policeman’s face.

The 18-year old was arrested and will be charged with a variety of offences including aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, escaping custody, and driving charges.

Police located a bag of cash and cigarettes they believe are related to the Gull petrol station robbery and now have “significant evidence” to suggest he was involved, Wairarapa Police response manager Senior Sergeant Jennifer Hansen said.

“The whole incident in itself is concerning right from the aggravated robbery – we’ve got someone who’s committed quite a serious offence with a weapon … and then to carry on this, which has put a whole bunch of members of the public and police, not to mention themselves, at huge risk, is really concerning.

“Any time a driver decides to flee from police, there’s a real danger element involved, and police have made the right decision in that first incident when they’ve observed the manner of driving to be so poor to abandon it quickly.”

Hansen said the officer who had been headbutted had a headache and marks on his face but was otherwise okay.

“Certainly, we’re pleased to have someone like this off the streets for the offending that he committed a couple of days ago, not to mention what’s happened today.

“But obviously whenever somebody drives the way he’s driven and puts that many people’s lives at risk, I don’t know that I would refer to that as a success.

“I’d say he’s very, very lucky that he hasn’t been seriously injured or seriously injured someone else.”

4 COMMENTS

  1. Thank god they got him I witness the whole event down river Rd. Then I return to work to make sure our children at the local maori school where ok. Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Wairarapa also went into lock down for the rest off the afternoon.

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