Patient police waiting for mistake
A cocky crook has taunted police using their own online crimefighting tool, but the constabulary says they'll be the ones having the last laugh.
The Taupo-based Tauhara Paetiki Neighbourhood policing team posted a plea on their Facebook page for information on Michael Shane Hagger, who has three warrants out for his arrest.
But the 34-year-old appears to enjoy the notoriety as well as being an avid social media user, with it taking only a couple of hours of the Saturday post to respond with "hoo rah".
A screen grab of the comment, which has since been deleted, has gone viral in social media circles as well as office emails with a screen grab likely to land in your inbox soon.
Hagger's comment, which received 53 likes before it was deleted, divided the Facebook followers, with some loving his antagonistic approach while others hoping he'll get his just desserts.
More discussion began why the "hoo rah" was deleted. Others didn't even know where Tauhara Paetiki was and visited the page to make sure it was legitimate.
It's been something of a boon for the police page, with many visiting to check out where and what Tauhara Paetiki was.
The community policing team's page soared throughout yesterday, to well over the 600 mark.
Just four days ago, the team were trumpeting getting to 300.
Officer in charge of Taupo police Neil Saunders even saw the lighter side of the online taunt, but wasn't too worried as he said police would get their man.
"We haven't found him so any publicity is good. He's just taking the piss obviously ... there's not many people that make good (flee) in this country. He's going to get caught eventually."
Mr Saunders said Facebook worked especially well with younger people.
"(Teenagers) wouldn't pick up a newspaper, they might light the fire with it, but they certainly know how to comment a lot on Facebook."
Constable Ben Parsonage of Otorohanga police – who operates its Facebook page –marvelled at how far policing has come in the past five years.
"We literally can have conversations with members of the public on a big scale, and you can have a private message on there, too. That's something that's really useful, especially in a town like Otorohanga ... five years ago I would never have thought we would be locking up offenders like that."
Mr Parsonage said police there had made numerous arrests due to postings on Facebook, including a South Auckland man who led police on a chase from Te Kuiti to Otorohanga before crashing. He booked a room at a local motel – where the owner recognised his description on Facebook – and was swiftly arrested.
It also helped find a girl – missing for 24 hours – from a post which he estimated reached about 200,000 people.
"That sort of contact – particularly in Otorohanga, a small town of about 9000 people ... is hugely powerful."
Anyone with information about Hagger's whereabouts is asked to contact Taupo police on 07 378 6060 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
- © Fairfax NZ News