A spate of car crime in the Opua area is continuing despite the arrests of eight suspects, including some as young as 12.
Two more vehicles, on top of the dozens already taken, went missing from Opua Marina on Sunday night. One was abandoned on Otiria Rd, Moerewa, about 2.30am on Monday, the other is still missing. Both are Subaru stationwagons. The missing vehicle is blue with registration FPL936.
The latest offences come despite a dedicated police operation and the arrests of eight youths ranging in age from 12-17.
The police operation began following the taking of a car at Waitangi last Tuesday night. The vehicle sped off when it was spotted by police near Towai. It was spiked north of Hikurangi but continued for another 25km before it was eventually stopped at Whananaki South.
A 17-year-old man was arrested on eight charges of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, one charge of attempted unlawful taking and a drug charge. Another 17-year-old man is facing charges of dangerous driving, failing to stop, unlawfully getting into a vehicle and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.
About 12.30am on Wednesday, offenders were seen trying to get into a vehicle near the Opua Marina. When disturbed they fled in another vehicle, eventually crashing on Ruapekapeka Rd. Four occupants fled on foot into the bush. A 15-year-old boy found nearby was being dealt with by Youth Aid.
Mr Robinson said police were following "positive lines of inquiry" to locate the other offenders.
The following night, police arrested a 12-year-old boy in relation to vehicle crime and returned him to the care of Child, Youth and Family. They also arrested a 15-year-old boy for unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle and attempted unlawful taking of a motor vehicle. Another 15-year-old was arrested for receiving a stolen vehicle and attempted unlawful taking, and two 17-year-old males had been arrested after they were found in the grounds of Opua Primary School.
Mr Robinson said police had acted with urgency to catch the offenders and, as a result, the number of incidents had fallen. He thanked members of the public who alerted police to a car offence at Opua Marina, which led to the arrest on Ruapekapeka Rd. Anyone who saw suspicious activity in the Bay of Islands should call 111. He also acknowledged the efforts of police staff, who had changed their normal shifts and carried out a thorough investigation in a bid to stop the offending.
"It was a great team effort," he said.
The total number of vehicles taken was "in the dozens", he said.