Police chase nets wig-wearing bail escapee

By Hayden Donnell

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A wig-wearing alleged drug dealer and electronic bail jumper described as "Waikato's most wanted man" has been captured after a police chase through Huntly and Ngaruawahia.

Police said patrolling officers used a new automatic number plate recognition system to identify a Mitsubishi Galant in front of them as a "car of interest" yesterday.

When they tried to get the car to pull over, a 'grey haired' man behind the wheel gave them a thumbs up to indicate he was coming to a stop, police said.

Senior Sergeant Jeff Penno said the man accelerated away after officers moved their patrol car over to the side of the road.

He turned off State Highway 1 on to Old Taupiri Rd while travelling at speeds of about 130km/hr in an attempt to escape the pursuing officers, Mr Penno said.

"Radioing ahead the officers arranged for Ngaruawahia colleagues to set up road spikes and they were able to do this, deflating the offender's left front tyre as he entered Ngaruawahia."

The suspect jumped from his crippled vehicle on River Rd and tried to flee police on foot, Mr Penno said.

He was chased through residential properties before being pulled down while trying to get over a third fence.

"Imagine our officers surprise when, during the struggle the man's grey hair fell off and they discovered he was wearing a wig to disguise his appearance."

Police said the 42-year-old arrested man would appear in Hamilton District Court today charged with absconding electronic bail, two prison recall warrants and eight warrants of arrest on charges of possession for supply of methamphetamine.

He would also face charges of failing to stop, dangerous driving and possession of cannabis.

Officers were also waiting to interview him over nine burglaries involving property worth tens of thousands of dollars, including the theft of a credit card alleged to have been used 21 times in one day.

The arrest showed the importance of the new number plate recognition system, police said.

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