16 Aug 2017

Heke manhunt now nationwide search

6:59 pm on 16 August 2017

Police say they have expanded the search for Rollie Heke to the entire country, and he is no longer thought to be in the Morrinsville area.

The 36-year-old traded shots with police after a car he was in was pulled over on the outskirts of Morrinsville on Sunday morning. A four-hour siege of a house in the town failed to find any trace of him on Monday.

In a press conference this afternoon, Detective Superintendent Chris Page said the search for Mr Heke has been elevated to a national level.

Police were looking for leads including whether other cars had been stolen and left around Morrinsville or in other parts of the country, he said.

"What we can say at this early stage is that our sense is that he's not in Morrinsville but in terms of exactly where he is now we can't be definitive."

He warned that Mr Heke has used violence against associates in the past and repeated Mr Heke's mother's message to give himself up.

The gunman has been at large for almost a year after cutting off his electronic monitoring bracelet last September.

"What worries us is that the criminals that are assisting Rollie may not know that he is unpredictable and has in the past used violence against his associates," he said.

"On one hand they may become liable to criminal prosecution, and on the other they may become victims themselves."

Mr Page said the siege on Monday was the result of police acting on the evidence before them.

"What we have to be careful about is speculating and making sure that we work off the evidence that's before us and the evidence that's given to us.

"And we will respond with urgency as soon as we have clear and credible evidence of where Rollie is."

"So that's what you saw ... clear and credible evidence of where he is and so we responded accordingly."

He said the other two people in the car had been interviewed, but no one had been charged.

He would not say what they found, and said they still had not located the high-powered military firearm police had been looking for over the past few days.

Part of the case would be to find out where it came from, he said.

He reiterated that Mr Heke was considered armed and dangerous.

"We reinforce to the public that if they're aware of him, if they see him, to get in touch with us straightaway and not to approach him."