Two women were kidnapped, bundled into a car boot and taken on a terrifying ride after they confronted five people trying to steal their vehicle in Auckland.
Unaware of the kidnapping, police spotted the car and pursued it when the driver failed to stop.
Five people have been arrested - including a 13-year old girl - and the other four charged after the incident that started in central Auckland and ended 52km away at Ramarama in the Bombay Hills.
Detective Inspector Scott Beard, of Auckland, said the women were found by police in the boot of a vehicle. They had moderate injuries and were taken to Middlemore Hospital for treatment.
The incident began when the women confronted five people allegedly attempting to break into their car on Bowen Ave, in central Auckland, about 10pm.
"They were assaulted and then forced to comply with orders and made to walk around with the offenders while they allegedly looked for a vehicle to steal," Beard said.
"They were then forced into the boot of a stolen Mazda Demio vehicle and driven to South Auckland."
Unaware of the earlier kidnapping or the vehicle having been stolen, a Counties Manukau Police unit saw the vehicle travelling in convoy with another car and attempted to stop them. Both cars failed to stop.
"The stolen Mazda Demio continued onto the Southern Motorway and then exited at Ramarama and drove off the side of a bridge where the vehicle went down an
approximately 5m bank."
As well as the women, three alleged offenders were found at the scene and taken into custody, Beard said.
The Police Eagle helicopter found the second vehicle, now known to be stolen, at an address in Manurewa. Two more people were arrested in relation to this incident, he said.
The youngest arrested was a 13-year-old girl who has been referred to Youth Aid.
A 14-year-old girl, two 15-year-old boys and a 20-year-old woman have each been charged with two counts of kidnapping, two counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of unlawfully taking a vehicle and unlawfully interfering with a vehicle.
One of the boys was also charged with two counts of dangerous driving.
The youths will appear in the Auckland Youth Court tomorrow.
Beard said the women and their families were being supported.
"This is really seriously offending and police are focused on ensuring the victims and their families get the support they need following this traumatic incident.
"As this matter is before the courts, we are unable to comment any further."
Cutting through the northern quarter of Albert Park, close to both the University of Auckland and Queen St, Bowen Ave is one of the more picturesque streets of the central city.
The avenue, which connects Kitchener and Princes Streets, is home to few.
Workers at nearby businesses said homeless people sometimes sleep rough in the park or around neighbouring buildings, but there are no homes in the area.
Gallery owner Trish Clark occupies the only building with a Bowen Ave entrance. Last night she returned from dinner at the nearby Northern Club about 9.45pm.
Police said the kidnapped women were taken around 10pm, but Clark said she saw and heard nothing.
She was stunned by the incident, but not deterred from going about her business.
"I feel entirely safe here. I've walked up and down here at midnight and never worried ... it's a beautiful street.
"It's an unfortunate occurrence that happens in cities around the world. It could happen anywhere."