A young man arrested during a police pursuit in Whangārei allegedly did four petrol drive-offs around the North Island before heading up north.
The 21-year-old from Tauranga is expected to appear in the Whangārei District Court today on charges of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, failing to stop, driving recklessly,
driving while disqualified and four charges of theft of petrol.
Whangārei police Sergeant Mohammed Atiq said a silver Mazda 3 was reported stolen from Tauranga on Friday last week and a highway patrol unit spotted the car north of Ruakākā just before 8am yesterday.
He said the driver allegedly did a petrol drive-off from Gas on Port Marsden Highway before heading north.
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Petrol drive-offs involving the vehicle were also reported in New Plymouth, Taupō and Rotorua, he said.
A police pursuit ensued from the intersection of State Highway 1 and Maungakaramea Rd through a number of roadworks right up to the Maunu Rd intersection.
Parts of the route were through heavy morning traffic and went through residential streets in Raumanga, including Murdoch Cres.
Spikes were laid near the Whangārei i-site Visitor Centre on Otaika Rd and the car came to a stop further along the road near Matipo Pl where New Zealand Transport Agency
contractors are widening the road.
Atiq said the fleeing driver damaged the wing mirror of another vehicle as he drove past it.
The Mazda 3 had to be towed away.