A high-speed chase had police drivers dodging cutlery, the occupants of one stolen car swapping seats and a second stolen vehicle shadowing the pursuit.
When the dust settled after one of the cars blew its gearbox, police discovered the three youths involved had allegedly been on a three-day car-theft spree in Dunedin and between Palmerston and Oamaru.
The 30-minute, 60km chase on Wednesday night started in Oamaru when a Toyota Corolla failed to stop after a patrol noticed it being driven without headlights at 11.30pm.
Senior Sergeant Kelvin Lloyd said the Corolla headed south towards Kakanui, with the occupants throwing knives and other metal objects out the windows.
At Kakanui, the car stopped briefly and a male driver replaced the female driver. Both were found to be disqualified drivers.
The chase continued down State Highway 1 towards Dunedin, with the Corolla reaching speeds of 160km/h.
Police learnt the car had been reported stolen from Dunedin, and road spikes were placed at Maheno. The Corolla evaded the spikes but trouble struck between Shag Point and Moeraki when the car's gearbox blew up.
In a last-minute bid to evade capture, the car went into a hand-brake slide before police arrested the pair.
Police realised during the chase they were being followed by another vehicle, which was stopped and found to have been stolen from Hampden. The male driver, who was wanted on warrants, was taken into custody.
Police found items in the Corolla and believe they may be linked to up to 20 thefts from Dunedin cars. Police believe the group had been committing car thefts between Palmerston and Oamaru, and in Dunedin.
Three Dunedin youths a 17-year-old woman and two 18-year-old men will face a variety of charges in the Dunedin District Court today.
- The Press