22 Mar 2016

Man taken during high-speed pursuit

7:22 pm on 22 March 2016

A drug-fuelled high-speed car chase from Auckland to Waikato overnight led to a stranger being snatched from his bed at gunpoint, police say.

Generic police car.

Police say the chase spanned over 100km from Auckland to Waikato (file). Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The police said the pursuit was sparked by the theft of a ute in the sleepy suburb of Devonport.

It spanned more than 100km, from Devonport on Auckland's North Shore to Ngaruawahia in Waikato.

Inspector Hayden Mander said police were called about a vehicle doing burn-outs and doughnuts on Lake Road about 12.20am.

He said when they contacted the stolen ute's owners, they were told several men with links to Black Power had held them at gunpoint and taken both that vehicle and a black BMW.

Mr Mander said the pursuit started when the driver of the ute failed to stop for officers, and was abandoned when speeds reached over 150km/h.

"The stolen ute continued to drive south down the motorway, being monitored by motorway cameras," he said.

"In the meantime, numerous police units had been mobilised and spikes were laid in Bombay. The stolen ute drove over those spikes but continued to flee and drove to a nearby cul-de-sac.

"Officer cordoned the end of that street... the man got out of his car and ran into the property holding a firearm."

Inspector Hayden Mander at a police news conference on 22 March 2016.

Inspector Hayden Mander at a police news conference following the pursuit Photo: RNZ / Carla Penman

Mr Mander said a couple in their 60s were asleep inside the house and were awoken by noise.

"The gunman smashed a ranchslider door and ordered the gentleman in the house to get in his own Ford Falcon with him. The man's wife was left behind.

"Officers had meanwhile moved in to cordon and contain the property. However, the gunman then appeared with the hostage, fleeing south on the motorway in the victim's car."

Mr Mander said a truck and trailer had just rolled at the time, and were blocking the Waikato Expressway.

"Officers contained the scene and directed fire crew who were assisting the crash to take cover.

"Officers then threw out spikes as the vehicle approached... But the car drove over the spikes, damaging at least one of the tyres."

The driver pulled out outside an associate's house in Ngaruawahia, honked his horn and then kept driving south before crashing shortly after, he said.

"The offender then told police he had swallowed approximately 3 grams of methamphetamine and he was taken to Middlemore Hospital to be assessed.

"The 64-year-old hostage received a minor hand injury but was otherwise physically unharmed."

A 27-year-old man is due to appear in the North Shore District Court tomorrow on 11 charges, including kidnapping, dangerous driving and using a firearm against a police officer.

Mr Mander said police were still hunting two other people believed to have taken part in an aggravated burglary of a house in Glenbervie before the chase.