Masked offender evades police after crash

A high-speed police chase through Horowhenua came to an end when the fleeing car crashed into a fence and the masked driver disappeared into the darkness.

Police are continuing the search for a man who stole a car and attempted to rob a store in Levin last night.

Police were called to a house on Liverpool St about 6.20pm after a couple were accosted in their home by a masked, armed offender.

The man, wearing a balaclava and carrying a knife, demanded car keys from a couple and then stole their car, Senior Sergeant Sarn Paroli said.

About 20 minutes later on Macarthur St, about two kilometres away, the husband-and-wife owners of a diary were taking down signage, preparing to close the shop for the night, when a man approached them making demands.

The man was believed to be the same offender involved in the Liverpool St aggravated robbery, Paroli said.

The couple yelled out, startling the man, causing him to flee. Officers then pursued the man from Levin heading north on State Highway 57, before turning onto SH56. The offender was clocked driving at speeds of up to 160kmh.

He dumped the car outside a rural house south of Opiki after crashing into a fence and fleeing into a field on foot.

A number of officers searched for the alleged offender for up to three hours last night, scouring farmland between Opiki and Shannon, with the aid of a helicopter and a police dog, Paroli said.

The man, darkly dressed, had managed to elude police because it was dark.

Police will continue searching for the man today and undertake a scene examination, as well as an examination of the car and interview witnesses.

Paroli said the victims were holding up OK. ''They're shaken and upset, but fortunately there were no serious injuries."

Manawatu Standard