Chase: Arrested men wanted by police

NICOLE PRYOR AND JONATHAN CARSON
Last updated 13:06 01/03/2013

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A man arrested near Hamilton following a high-speed chase was wanted in connection with armed robberies at tourist hot spots in Auckland.

John Koteka, 34, was arrested by Waikato police after he and another man allegedly fled the scene of a car crash in Tamahere, just outside Hamilton, last night.

The second man who was arrested, 31-year-old Alex Tereora, was also wanted on warrants.

Koteka was allegedly involved in three armed robberies, which took place on February 17.

It is alleged he pulled a pistol on a number of people: two he allegedly robbed at the Auckland Domain Winter Gardens, one at the base of Mt Eden and a group of tourists at the summit of the volcanic cone.

About 10pm last night, Waikato police were alerted to a car travelling at speed through Cambridge.

Police said they started chasing the car, which they say was reaching speeds of around 180kmh, and tried to stop it  with road spikes.

After crashing into a line of trees the driver and a passenger in the car allegedly fled, said district road policing manager Inspector Marcus Lynam.

A police dog tracked one of the men through a number of properties to a trucking company's yard, he said.

"Locating this man in the cab in an immobilised truck two police dog handlers and a dog tried to effect an arrest".

After allegedly assaulting one officer the man fled, he said.

Lynam said the other dog handler unleashed his dog on the man, who then ran out of sight.

The dog handler rounded a corner to find the man allegedly choking the dog to the point of unconsciousness and fired a warning shot from his pistol, he said.

Lynam said the shot distracted the man.

Two police officers then struggled with the man, who was "heavily resisting", Lynam said.

"Officers involved described the man offering extreme resistance, however he was able to be subdued," he said.

"A short time later other officers saw a second male attempting to flee," Lynam said.

With the assistance of members of the Waikato Armed Offenders Squad and the Auckland-based police Eagle Helicopter, the man was arrested "without further incident," he said.

Both men were put under police guard in Waikato hospital, and police began forensic examinations on the crashed car.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority was advised of the crash.

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