Man arrested after police chase

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 17:13 01/09/2014
ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff.co.nz

Armed police blocked off a central Wellington street following a car chase.

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A man has been arrested after a car chase in central Wellington that resulted in armed police being called out.

Detective Senior Sergeant Warwick McKee, of the Wellington District Crime Squad, said a 23-year-old man who allegedly fled police has been arrested in the CBD and will be charged in connection with the stolen car chase.

The driver who allegedly led police on a car chase was at large this afternoon. He raced into a central Wellington hotel's carpark and fled on foot through the building, pursued by armed police. 

Police have since reopened Gilmer Terrace, off Boulcott St, which was blocked off by armed police for a short period this afternoon as they hunted a suspect.

Acting Hutt Valley response manager Senior Sergeant Steve Braybrook said police had been alerted by a member of the public about a man's "idiotic" driving in the Hutt Valley this afternoon.

A police dog handler in a nearby vehicle spotted the vehicle, then recognised his car's license plates as a stolen vehicle police had been instructed to look out for, Braybrook said. 

He attempted to stop the driver but the man fled.

A witness named Solomon said he saw the car chase enter the city as he walked out of a gym on The Terrace. He followed the action, running through a car park building that traverses The Terrace and Gilmer. 

He said he saw armed police and dogs hunting for the man, who had made a "crazy turn" into Gilmer.

"They said he's armed and don't come close."

Other witnesses watching from a nearby carpark said they saw the man zoom down dead-end Gilmer Tce at high speed.

The man then abandoned his car on the street, with the engine still running, and fled through the Citylife hotel at the end of the street, Braybrook said.

He said the man was seen on CCTV leaving the hotel via a Lambton Quay exit.

The alleged offender was seen changing his clothing as he fled through the hotel, he made his way to Lambton Quay, then was found and arrested on the Wellington waterfront near Civic Square this afternoon, McKee said.

He will face charges including driving dangerously, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, and shoplifting offences.

The vehicle, a blue Toyota Camry registration ZO6395, was reported stolen from the Hutt Valley and is being forensically examined, police said. No firearm had been found.

In earlier reports police suggested the incident was linked to a shooting in Island Bay. However, police staff had been advised incorrectly and investigators at this stage had no suggestion of a connection, McKee said.

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- The Dominion Post

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