The man who died after a police chase ended in him jumping off the Auckland Harbour Bridge had been wanted for five months and had racked up a long list of convictions.

Alaric Eccleston, 30, cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet in April and police had put out a public alert to track him down.

Just after 11am today, he allegedlly stole a vehicle and money from a woman he knew at an address in Orewa address, police said.

Police were called and started following him. He failed to stop and a pursuit started at the Esmonde Rd motorway on ramp, crossing the Harbour Bridge and snaking across the Auckland suburbs of Parnell, Sandringham, Mt Albert and Pt Chevalier.

Police photograph a deceased man on board a police launch today at Mechanics Bay Auckland. Photo / Doug Sherring
Police photograph a deceased man on board a police launch today at Mechanics Bay Auckland. Photo / Doug Sherring

Inspector Trevor Beggs said police abandoned the pursuit in the high pedestrian area of Newmarket. He was then followed by the Eagle helicopter.

At the Te Atatu motorway on ramp for State Highway 16 the pursuit was re-activated.

"He travelled back towards the North Shore. At the highest point of the arc of Harbour Bridge he stopped his car and ran from the car. He immediately jumped over the railing."

Police said officers from the Deodar police boat pulled Eccleston out of the water and performed CPR as they headed to the Marine Rescue Centre in Mechanics Bay.

Paramedics from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter base also worked on the man, but he was pronounced dead.

The incident lasted about 45-minutes, he said.

He rammed two police cars at one point druing the chase, police said.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority had been notified in-line with police pursuit protocol.

A woman driving across the bridge said: "We were travelling to the shore and it was crazy. The traffic ground to gridlock and then we saw a couple of police officers trying to make their way through the traffic that was all stopped.

"They were trying to push everyone to the right hand side."

A Mitsubishi Legnum, was stopped right by the left hand railing of the bridge, at its highest point, she said.

"The doors were all open and the back tail light was smashed, we thought there must have been a crash but then we saw all the police officers looking over the side of the bridge.

"That's when we knew someone has definitely jumped."

Police were also in the process of investigating the theft of the money and vehicle, he said.

Eccleston was accused of attacking his elderly landlord in 2009.

Police said he showed up at his 70-year-old landlord's home in Torbay armed with a knife and demanding his car and money.

He allegedly tied and gagged his landlord with a sock, but removed it when he started to choke.

He served a four-year aggravated robbery sentence, for which his release conditions expired in 2013.

In January, he appeared for sentence in the Whangarei District after earlier pleading guilty to charges of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, driving reckless causing injury, possession of cannabis plant, and failing to stop.

He also admitted to three charges of breach of release conditions and two of theft.
Judge Duncan Harvey said Eccleston's reckless driving was among the worst he could recall and it was fortunate he did not kill anyone.

He sentenced him to home detention so he could treat his addiction to methamphetamine.

While on the run, he had active charges for allegedly assaulting someone using the butt of a firearm.