2 May 2020

Girls blamed for spate of vehicle thefts in Manawatū

3:57 pm on 2 May 2020

Police are appealing for the public's help after a run of car thefts involving teenagers in Palmerston North and Feilding.

Area Commander Inspector Sarah Stewart said frequently the offenders are girls, working in small groups and aged between 12 and 17 years.

She said earlier this week, the female driver of a stolen car drove over three sets of road spikes in Palmerston North, before stopping.

Inspector Sarah Stewart.

Sarah Stewart Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The 15-year-old girl was charged with unlawful taking of a vehicle and failing to stop and a second 15-year-old girl was charged with unlawful taking and breach of bail.

They both appeared in Youth Court yesterday while a 16-year-old and 14-year-old girls were referred to youth aid for unlawfully getting into a vehicle.

She said in another instance, a girl in a stolen vehicle backed into school gates trying to evade police, then drove off, dragging the gates behind her.

The 16-year-old driver has appeared in court today, facing charges of breaching her bail, unlawful taking of a vehicle, dangerous driving and failing to stop.

Her 17-year-old passenger also appeared in court for breaching his bail, possession of instruments for car conversion and unlawful taking.

Inspector Stewart said the young drivers seldom stop for police and put themselves, the police and the public at risk.

"We need our young people to stop stealing cars, committing crime and risking their lives and the lives of those around them."

Manawatū locals are being urged to report suspicious activity.

Police are also appealing to vehicle owners to ensure they are locked, and if possible, not to park them overnight on the street. They are also reminding people to remove valuables such as wallets and electronic items.