18 May 2024

Suspect in Waitara kidnapping arrested

3:30 pm on 18 May 2024
Police generic

A police dog unit tracked the suspect down. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

A man wanted in connection with an alleged abduction of a baby, who was left dumped on the side of the road, has been arrested.

The 34-year-old was seen on State Highway 1 on Friday night, police said on Saturday, and arrested after his vehicle tyres were spiked.

Last Sunday (12 May), a car was stolen from outside a dairy on the corner of Queen and Cameron streets in Waitara, Taranaki. A baby in the back seat was later found on a grass berm, unharmed.

The vehicle was found on Monday morning, but the driver remained at large.

On Friday evening after the suspect was sighted, police initiated a pursuit but abandoned it for safety reasons.

"Police sighted the vehicle again and shortly after successfully deployed spikes on SH3," Detective Senior Sergeant Debra Gower said.

That vehicle too was soon abandoned, but a police dog unit tracked the suspect, who was arrested about 8.30pm.

He has been charged with abducting a child, aggravated assault, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, driving while disqualified and failing to stop for police.

"This was a concerning incident, and police are pleased to see this offender, who showed little concern for the safety of the community, before the courts."

The man will appear in New Plymouth District Court on 30 May.

The baby's mother was facing a charge of unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle, after taking a car belonging to another person to chase down the vehicle thieve.