A call to the emergency 111 number has helped Waikato police capture a man on the run for nearly a year.
Sergeant Damien O'Kane, of the Huntly public safety team, said officers were called to the small settlement of Pukemiro about 4pm on Tuesday after a rural resident reported a couple acting suspiciously.
"The caller to the 111 service described what was going on as a home invasion, and Huntly, Ngaruawahia and road policing staff attended the call," Mr O'Kane said. "As a result of the caller relaying a timely and accurate description of the offenders and their car, police stopped a Nissan Primera car on the nearby Rotowaro Rd as it travelled towards Huntly."
The occupants of the car - a 31-year-old man and a 24-year-old female passenger - refused to co-operate with police.
Pepper spray was used as the man tried to avoid arrest.
"He was subsequently identified as a man who had been actively avoiding police since escaping custody last April, who was wanted on 11 warrants to arrest," Mr O'Kane said.
The man faces three additional charges of resisting police, possession of methamphetamine utensils and unlawful possession of ammunition, following yesterday's incident.
"His female accomplice was processed by way of pre-charge warning for obstructing police."
Mr O'Kane said the arrest highlighted how public information could help police with investigations.
He said it also proved offenders did not just hide in towns. Rural people were just as at risk of criminals as their "townie cousins". "The advantage rural residents have over those in the city, however, is that they will have a better idea of who does and - more importantly - who doesn't belong in their area."
The Waikato tactical crime unit was also busy in the north of the region on Tuesday, where it searched a Ngaruawahia address seeking a 36-year-old man wanted for failing to appear in court. Detective Sergeant Neville Ross said the wanted man "wasn't that pleased to see us" and attempted to avoid arrest, cutting his hand on the edge of a fence as he tried to flee.
"Among items recovered was a pill container containing a quantity of what appears to be cannabis oil, so now he has drug related charges and a sore hand to consider." Mr Ross said while the man was arrested, people still had an important part to play in ensuring the offender was held to account.
"While at the property we came across two distinctive items which we're hoping the public can help identify as to who their rightful owner is.
"The first is a decorative 1.3-metre-long sword in its sheath which has a 95-centimetre-long blade and comes with a smaller brown handled knife."
Mr Ross said the other item was a engraved silver trinket box made in Wales and still in its original blue box.
"It is engraved on its sides: I will make the beds of roses and a thousand fragrant posies; and the blue box it comes in has a manufacturer's sticker that reads: Sophie's Choice, Warrington, Cheshire."
Police want to hear from people if they know of the items or where they may have come from.
Mr Ross said had the legal owner downloaded photographs of the items on a database such as the Operation SNAP website (snap.org.nz) the police would be able to identify the owners quickly.
"Similarly, if valuables are marked with forensic property marking, it makes it harder for thieves who steal your property to then on-sell.
"If it's good enough to protect the Ranfurly Shield and the Investec Super 15 Trophy with this marking, police are asking why you don't do the same to items important to you."
- Waikato Times