Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Teens' crime spree was 'more than crazy'

A teenage crime spree through Auckland's North Shore has been described as "more than crazy" by the detective piecing together the mayhem.

Police are investigating a series of aggravated robberies, including a car-jacking, in which victims were bottled, punched and kicked late last night.

The incidents culminated with a high-speed police pursuit which ended when a stolen car crashed in central Auckland early this morning.

Two teenage boys, aged 16 and 17, were released into police custody after being treated for minor injuries from the crash.

A 16-year-old was charged with aggravated robbery, and the older youth was likely to face the same charge.

Further charges against both were likely.

Detective Senior Sergeant Stan Brown said the offending was "more than crazy - it could have been quite serious".

The first victims, two 18-year-olds, were punched and kicked at a cemetery on Victoria Rd in Devonport some time after 11pm. Both had their wallets stolen and one had his phone taken.

When police arrived, they found four friends of the offenders inside a vehicle stolen from South Auckland. Meanwhile, the offenders had made their way to Clarence St, where they stole a car off a young couple in a driveway about 11.45pm.

Police said a 23-year-old man and his 21-year-old girlfriend were pulled from the car and hit with bottles, with the man suffering a gash to his head.

The offenders then used the stolen vehicle to ram a woman's car near the Highbury shops in Birkenhead. One of the offenders got out and tried to open her car door, but she managed to drive away before he could get in.

The teenagers then robbed a 17-year-old boy outside the McDonald's in Glenfield about midnight. One of them threatened the boy and ripped off his backpack, while the other waited in the car. They then fled in the stolen car together.

Police tried to stop the car around the intersection of the Albany and Upper Harbour highways, but it drove off at high speed along the motorway towards central Auckland.

The car crashed at the intersection of Nelson St and Fanshawe St.

Mr Brown said police were still investigating what had fuelled the incidents.

"We really don't know what was the first kick-off or the catalyst of all this happening, so it's speculation only at this stage," he said.

"It will probably take another day or two to get the full picture, and that's what we're doing now."

Police would talk to the victims, examine the two stolen cars forensically and look into the backgrounds of the alleged offenders.

"Between all three, we might have a clearer picture in a couple of days."

Mr Brown confirmed the teenagers had been drinking, but the extent was not known.

Some of the victims were not too badly injured, but the man who was bottled was "pretty sore today". He was treated at hospital and discharged this morning.

The victims were random and were in the "wrong place, wrong time".

Mr Brown said police had spoken to the four people who were in the first stolen car in Devonport. Two were charged on unrelated matters.

The occupants had told police the offenders were armed with a firearm and a knife, but the weapons had not yet been found.

The police serious crash unit was investigating, and the Independent Police Conduct Authority had been advised of the incident.

- APNZ

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