Wanted man captured in Dunedin

By Hamish McNeilly

Police descend on Chambers St, Northeast Valley, yesterday. Photos / Craig Baxter.
Police descend on Chambers St, Northeast Valley, yesterday. Photos / Craig Baxter.

The hunt for a wanted man who police said had an extensive criminal history ended in a quiet suburban Dunedin street yesterday afternoon.

Justin Mane Paul was arrested on Chambers St at noon, after he was earlier spotted in the Northeast Valley area just after 9am, sparking a large police search.

Paul is expected to appear in the Dunedin District Court this morning on burglary charges, and was the subject of an earlier recall warrant to Otago Corrections Facility.

Senior Sergeant Steve Aitken said Paul (38) had an extensive criminal history, and was considered dangerous by police.

"He has a number of violence convictions, so he was a priority for us."

On October 5, Paul allegedly left his treatment at Dunedin's Moana House, and later headed for the Northeast Valley area where a large number of burglaries had been reported, police said.

Earlier this week a resident returned home to find the smell of cooked chicken in their home, one of at least 10 properties believed to have been broken into by Paul, police said.

Snr Sgt Aitken said Paul was first spotted yesterday on Hatfield St, and "we put a lot of resources into the area to try and hem him in".

Up to 25 police officers cordoned off and searched several blocks.

Paul was spotted on foot heading towards Pine Hill before doubling back near the Dunedin North Police Station heading towards Opoho, police said.

"He was obviously very familiar with the area having dossed down in the area for a number of days," Snr Sgt Aitken said.

Paul, who was described by police as a 185cm tall Maori with a stocky build and dark bushy hair, had shaved his distinctive hair over the last few days.

In an effort to give the cordon the slip yesterday, he allegedly removed his grey hoodie and blue trackpants, later sporting a Canterbury rugby team jersey and rugby shorts, police said.

Just after noon he was cornered in Chambers St and gave himself up, police said.

Snr Sgt Aitken praised the public for providing information leading to his arrest, and acknowledged the level of concern for some residents in seeing a large number of police in the area.

"We understand it is disconcerting to see police saturating an area to try and hunt someone. And we appreciate that it was difficult for people and we apologise.

"But it was necessary to apprehend this man."

- Otago Daily Times

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