A man who carjacked a vehicle with a very young baby in the back seat, parked on the forecourt of a Whangārei service station, is still on the run after dumping the car.
After a two-and-a-half hour search of an area in Kensington, Whangārei, with a drone and a police dog and handler, the man was not found.
The distraught mother was reunited with her baby, who was not injured.
Police received a report of a vehicle being taken from the forecourt outside BP Wylies petrol station on Maunu Rd, at 11.36am yesterday.The mother was inside the service station when the vehicle was stolen.
Police understand the man walked on to the service station forecourt alone.
Soon after he took the vehicle it was seen in the Kensington area by a police unit.
The man stopped the vehicle near the ASB Stadium on Western Hills Dr and fled towards Russell Rd.
Officers lost sight of him but the baby was found safe, still inside the vehicle. The baby was checked by ambulance staff as a precaution before being reunited with the mother.
"The incident has left the mother understandably shaken as a result," police said.
Russell Rd was a hive of police activity with officers on both sides of the valley checking for sightings of the man.
Others took high vantage points on top of garden walls, and a drone was used to help with the search. A police dog and handler were also called. The area covered by the search included a stream.
The officer in charge of the search, Sergeant Christian Stainton, said residents had been very helpful to police and "provided access on their properties that we needed. The initial help we had from the service station staff and people who were there at the time was also great."
He said inquiries were continuing.