A "dangerous" man facing aggravated robbery charges made a dramatic escape from an Auckland courtroom yesterday, leaping over the dock and bolting outside to a waiting car.
The Herald has learned Reilly Bowler was appearing in the Waitakere District Court on charges of aggravated robbery and taking a vehicle when he managed to flee.
He was in the dock appearing before Judge Lisa Tremewan when he made a run for it just before 5pm.
Bowler, 22, reportedly jumped over the dock and ran from the room.
He evaded a number of court security staff who tried to stop him.
Bowler was appearing in a ground-level courtroom, so did not have far to run to his getaway car.
It is understood the escape was all captured on court security cameras.
A warrant has been issued for Bowler's arrest.
"It's believed others may have assisted with his escape and may know where Bowler is," said Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Salton.
Bowler is described as thin-medium build, 180cm tall and can be identified by a large facial tattoo across his right cheek, which he may be trying to conceal.
"Police urge Reilly Bowler to hand himself in or anyone who knows where he is to do the right thing and contact police immediately," Salton said.
"Bowler is considered dangerous and should not be approached by the public.
"If you see him, call 111 immediately."
Melissa Gill, general manager of health, safety and security at the Ministry of Justice, said court security officers also pursued Bowler but could not catch him.
She would not release images or footage of the escape.
"As the matter is an active criminal case, and CCTV footage forms a part of the police investigation. It will not be released at this time," Gill said.
"Any further information about the defendant and the charges he is facing should be sought from the police.
"For obvious security reasons, the Ministry does not publicly discuss its security arrangements, however, we will be reviewing this incident with our Justice partners."
Can you help?
Anyone with information about Reilly Bowler's whereabouts is urged to contact Waitemata Crime Squad on 09 839 0697 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.