Fugitive at centre of manhunt named

Last updated 11:21 25/08/2014

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A gunman on the run who stormed into a family's Kihikihi home on Sunday and stole their car is believed to be Zeb Lee Sonny McCallion of Rangiriri, police say.

They're calling on McCallion to give himself up as a forensic examination of the stolen car, discovered in northwest Hamilton early this morning, gets underway.

The accused allegedly burst into a the home of a Kihikihi family armed with a firearm, threatened them and stole a car, police say.

Moments earlier, the man faced off with a police officer who was forced to backed away while staring down the barrel of a gun. The incident began about 9am with reports of a burglary of a Whitmore St address, police said. 

McCallion appeared on Police Ten 7 on July 10.

Auckland Police had a warrant to arrest him for aggravated robbery and they described McCallion as a Caucasian, 175cm tall of medium build.

''At this point police are appealing for anyone who may have seen the car being abandoned on Pringle Pl, Nawton, or seen the occupants, to contact us,'' field crime manager, Acting Detective Inspector Mark Greene, said. 

"The offender at the centre of this incident is believed to be 35-year-old Rangiriri man, Zeb Lee Sonny McCallion who is believed to be armed and have access to drugs and should not be approached."

Greene said the accused had threatened police at gunpoint on Sunday. Greene also said officers made a ''chilling'' discovery later in the day while searching the property where the Honda was taken from.

"As they searched along the offender's direction of flight from the Whitaker St incident to the victims' home they located a jacket on the lawn of the Hall St home and located inside the jacket was an improvised explosive device (IED). 

"Members of an Auckland-based Defence Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team were called in to make the device safe and they confirmed it was a live device with the potential to cause serious injury." 

Greene said police were appealing for McCallion and any associates who may be assisting him to consider the situation they now found themselves in.

McCallion also has a history of escaping police custody.

In 2005, McCallion reportedly smashed his way through the ceiling of a Rotorua police cell with an associate and escaped. 

The pair climbed out of an area only visible from the Rotorua police yard some time between 1.40am and 3.10am. 

He was facing numerous burglary and unlawful taking charges and had been remanded in custody. 

Senior Sergeant Dave Donaldson said they were ''semi-transient''.

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Anyone who sees McCallion is asked not to approach him but to ring 111.

Alternatively, anyone with information on McCallion's whereabouts can leave information anonymously with the independent Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. 

- Waikato Times

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