Police halt alleged vehicle, assault crime spree by 'prolific posse' in Northland

  • 20/02/2024
Detective Senior Sergeant John Clayton said the alleged offending happened in the past month.
Detective Senior Sergeant John Clayton said the alleged offending happened in the past month. Photo credit: RNZ

A police investigation has stopped an alleged crime spree across parts of Northland.   

In the past week, police have arrested multiple people after targeting a group of associates for activities in the Ōmāpere, Opononi and Tītoki areas. 

Detective Senior Sergeant John Clayton said the alleged offending happened in the past month.

"We have been investigating a spate of stolen vehicles, theft from vehicles and unlawful interference with vehicles," he said.

"Police have also laid charges over an aggravated robbery near Opononi."

Eight charges have been laid against two men over a series of incidents in Ōmāpere and Opononi over Northland's Anniversary Weekend.

The 26- and 47-year-old men are due to appear in the Whangārei District Court on February 21 and 26 respectively for offences relating to vehicle crime. 

"They have been charged with offences including unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, three counts of theft ex-car and receiving property," Det Snr Sgt Clayton said.

The 26-year-old has been charged with aggravated robbery after he allegedly approached a tourist sleeping in their vehicle off State Highway 12. 

"His vehicle was allegedly vandalised before the victim was subjected to an assault which left him badly shaken," Det Snr Sgt Clayton said.

"The man's belongings were taken at the time, but we have also recovered some of this property when arrests were made late last week."

In a separate investigation, a second man has been charged over an incident on Mangakahia Road on the Coromandel Peninsula last week.

Police initially advised that a 47-year-old-man was charged in the investigation but "as a result of our enquiries we have now charged a 52-year-old man over the incident, and he has been jointly charged with two counts of assault with a weapon," Det Snr Sgt Clayton said.

"These incidents have created numerous victims and inflicted harm against our community, in which we have seen violent and brazen acts being carried out."

The investigation continues and further arrests are possible. 

Police are also asking anyone who saw a white Toyota Prado around the Twin Bridges area last Thursday, February 15 to come forward. 

"The incident occurred, on Mangakahia Road, at around 10:20am on 15 February 2024," police said. 

Police want to hear from anyone who saw the 4WD vehicle parked near a petrol tanker or in the surrounding area. 

If you witnessed the vehicle, please contact Police on 105 or go online to https://www.police.govt.nz/use-105 using 'Update My Report'. 

They ask that people reference file number 240216/4453. 

Information can also be provided anonymously through Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.