Six teen offenders broke out of a Rotorua youth facility on Saturday evening - hours later they crashed over Russel Du Fall's back fence.

Four of the offenders were caught by police that night but two are still at large more than 36 hours later.

And Du Fall has slammed police for their lack of communication because after calling both the local station and the Northern Communications Centre, no one would tell him if the other two are still missing.

"I'm just your average citizen, I help the police where I can but it's not a two-way street.
"It's wrong that we can't get this information," he said.


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About 5.15pm on Saturday, the six teen offenders, aged between 15 and 17, escaped from Te Maioha o Parekarangi Youth Justice Residence and made their way north towards Rotorua.

Three hours later, Du Fall's wife spotted people clambering over their fence in Tihiotonga - about 2.5km away from the facility - and their German Shepherd started barking.

"They were running towards the bush and I said to my wife, 'Call the cops'," he told the Herald.

"I was talking to the police in a matter of minutes and that was when a policeman came over the fence the same way the intruders did, carrying a police dog."

Du Fall offered to "set my German Shepherd on them" but a police officer told him not to as they were violent offenders.

Police managed to catch two of the offenders in Du Falls' back garden and later on that evening, caught another two.

Two of the teens were reportedly captured in their socks.


When Du Fall went to bed about 1.30am, the remaining two were still on the run.

Police told the Herald on Monday night that they still hadn't found the offenders and "inquiries are continuing to locate them".

But despite Du Fall's best efforts, it was only after he contacted the Herald that he was given this information.

Te Maioha o Parekarangi Youth Justice Residence where the teens escaped from at the weekend.
Te Maioha o Parekarangi Youth Justice Residence where the teens escaped from at the weekend.

Du Fall called the police on the ground "awesome" and said they did "a really good job".

But he has labelled the communication from the wider police since as "pathetic".

"It's frustratingly impossible to get in touch with them.

"I just wanted a simple yes or no answer about whether these other two have been apprehended or if they're still at large."

The Northern Communications Centre told Du Fall they couldn't give him an update - despite concerns for his safety - for privacy reasons, he said.

"I said that's pathetic, nothing to do with privacy about whether they've been apprehended or not."

The Herald raised Du Fall's frustrations with the police who said he hadn't been called back because the officers involved hadn't been given his details yet but he would be contacted shortly.

The youth justice residence is run by Oranga Tamariki and a spokesman for the organisation told the Rotorua Daily Post that an investigation into how the teens escaped was underway.