A police pursuit across Rotorua has ended in a crash and police are investigating whether the incident was linked to two aggravated robberies over the weekend.
Jerams' Superette at Hannah's Bay was robbed on Saturday and St Andrew's Superette on Otonga Rd on Sunday.
Head of Rotorua CIB Detective Senior Sergeant Zane Smith said a member of the public called police after she saw men wearing balaclavas in a car in Ngongotaha around 3.45pm today.
The car was confirmed as a Mazda allegedly stolen from the Central Mall car park in Rotorua yesterday.
Police saw the vehicle, which failed to stop. A pursuit began but was called off on more than one occasion for public safety reasons.
The car is reported to have been driven on the wrong side of the road exceeding speed limits, with one witness claiming the car avoided spikes on Old Taupo Rd.
The car was spotted again on Te Ngae Rd near the intersection with Sala St and seconds later it crashed into traffic lights.
Three people ran off and were chased by a police dog and its handler as well as another officer.
Police cars surrounded the area with units by the BMX track, wastewater treatment plant, Puarenga Park and Hamiora Pl.
Police made three arrests.
"It's too early to say whether this incident is connected with [the weekend's] robberies but we are certainly considering that possibility," Mr Smith said.
"We know at least four people were involved in the robberies and still have to confirm whether there is a definite link between events at the weekend and this so we still need public further assistance.
"In the meantime I would like to applaud the member of the public whose vigilance and decision to call police immediately about the suspicious behaviour she witnessed was a critical factor in the early arrest of these three suspects."
Three teenagers will appear in Rotorua District Court tomorrow.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Rotorua police on (07) 348 0099. Information can also be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
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