A 15-year-old boy was arrested on Tuesday morning after a police pursuit that began in Ōkaihau and ended on SH1 just north of Mangamuka Bridge.
The teenager was spotted by a member of the public near Ōkaihau, driving the Suzuki Swift that police had been looking for after its 82-year-old owner was bashed and thrown out by two hitchhikers outside Kerikeri on Friday last week (Octogenarian bashed, robbed, September 25).
Police laid road spikes in Ōkaihau township, puncturing one tyre, but the teenager continued north on one shredded tyre then on the rim, for more than 30km before crashing.
The boy had been referred to the Youth Court on a charged of receiving the vehicle and driving offences.
Earlier on Tuesday police arrested and charged a 17-year-old male in relation to Friday's aggravated robbery. Detective Senior Sergeant Rhys Johnston said enquiries into that incident were ongoing.
A second 17-year-old was taken to police by his family.
"We want to thank the community, who have been extremely helpful in providing valuable information that has led to these arrests," he said.
"We know that the public would have been saddened to hear how a vulnerable, elderly member of our community was preyed upon, and we are pleased to have located one of the alleged offenders involved in this nasty incident.
"While we are limited in what we can say now there is an arrest, police are confident that there will be further charges as a result of this investigation."
The victim had been discharged from hospital after treatment of what was believed to be a head injury, and was recovering at home. His car had sustained considerable damage, and was unlikely to be roadworthy.
Friday's victim said he would no longer be offering rides to hitchhikers, as he had done many times in the past.
When he stopped to let the pair out on Wiroa Rd one of the youths had begun beating him across the face with a hard object. He had had difficulty getting out of his seatbelt but had eventually managed to free himself, and was pushed out of the car.
He could recall hanging on to the door and calling for help, then ending up on the gravel, where the beating continued.
"The one hitting me, he wasn't normal. He was hyped up. He looked evil," he said.
When he regained consciousness a passer-by was asking him if he was okay. He was taken to Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa, but is still suffering pain in his face.
He had also had to replace his bank cards and driver's licence. He had lost his hearing aid, and his watch had been smashed.
"One thing I've learned, you don't pick up people thumbing a lift if you don't know them. I wouldn't want anyone to go through what I've just gone through," he added.