The hunt for Joshua Kite: beat police don bullet proof vests

Wanted: Joshua Kite has been on the run from police since Friday and is considered armed and dangersou. Photo supplied: NZ Police.
Wanted: Joshua Kite has been on the run from police since Friday and is considered armed and dangersou. Photo supplied: NZ Police.

Police on foot patrols have been seen wearing bullet proof vests as the hunt for armed fugitive Joshua Kite continues.

Several sources have told the Herald that they have seen police officers wearing bullet proof vests over their stab-proof Kevlar vests, which they wear as a standard part of their uniform.

All general duties staff in Northland and the three Auckland police districts - City, Waitemata and Counties Manukau - have been armed, under the instruction of police bosses, since last Friday, when Kite allegedly fired at two officers and went on the run in the early hours of the morning.

The 33-year-old, believed to be armed with a high-powered rifle, then stole an unmarked patrol car and fled.

The hunt for Kite continues in Northland and the wider Auckland area.

A 25-year-old woman was arrested at the weekend for allegedly aiding the dangerous fugitive and police believe a number of other associates are helping Kite avoid arrest.

This afternoon police would not be drawn on specifics of the hunt for Kite, including the bullet-proof vests.

"Unfortunately we can't really discuss operational matters of this nature," a spokeswoman said.

"Staff are under orders of general arming at the moment but due to the sensitivity of the investigation we can't confirm any details further than that."

Earlier today Kite's estranged partner Chey Thomassen appealed to the 33-year-old to give himself up.

"I love you with all my heart as our daughter does," she said.

"Show her the right way and that you love her and give yourself up, please, before someone else or you get killed."

Kite's run from the law started at 12.43am last Friday when police tried to stop him as he drove down Bank St in central Whangarei.

He fled and after a short pursuit crashed on Kamo Rd.

As police approached Kite allegedly fired at them, forcing them to duck for cover.

Police said their unmarked patrol vehicle was stolen by Kite, who then drove south and stopped two people in another vehicle near Raumanga Valley Rd and ordered them to get out before driving off in their car.

It is alleged he then ditched that car in Maungaturoto and was later sighted in Kaiwaka.

Police are still appealing for sightings of Kite.

The manhunt is still focused on Northland and the Auckland region.

Detective Inspector Kevin Burke said anyone who may be helping Kite could expect to face criminal charges.

Anyone who spots Kite or has information about his whereabouts should call 111 immediately.

- NZ Herald

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