Man in court over car theft

By Kiri Gillespie -
Police were called to help search for the toddler and the car. File photo
Police were called to help search for the toddler and the car. File photo

A man has been charged after he allegedly stole a car that had a toddler inside it.

Nohowaka Kinghazel, 26, from Taneatua, appeared in the Whakatane District Court before a community magistrate yesterday and was remanded without plea until today.

He had been charged with unlawfully taking a Subaru Legacy from a home in Taneatua on Monday night.

Police allege that a 16-month-old child was in the car when it was taken.

He also faces charges of driving while disqualified (third or subsequent), driving with an excess breath-alcohol level of 663mcg of alcohol per litre of breath, and assaulting police.

It is alleged the driving and assault incidents happened in Kawerau on Monday.

The 16-month-old had been left by itself inside a car as its caregiver visited a friend about 8.15pm.

Whakatane Senior Sergeant Yvonne Parker alleged that Kinghazel took the car without being aware there was a child inside.

She said he later allegedly stopped at another address and left the baby with the occupant, who called police.

One of the officers was allegedly assaulted during the arrest after police came across the stolen vehicle on Awahou Rd.

The child was unharmed.

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