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HomeNew ZealandMan arrested, two others sought after carjackings near Palmerston North

Man arrested, two others sought after carjackings near Palmerston North

A police car

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Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Police have arrested one man and are hunting for two others after two vehicles were hijacked – possibly at gunpoint – near Palmerston North.

Police area commander Phillip Ward said officers were alerted to a person of interest travelling in a speeding vehicle on State Highway 57 at Aokautere, near the city, about 7.20am.

It did not stop for police and wasn’t chased, but was seen 10 minutes later.

That vehicle was stopped using road spikes as it headed towards Ashhurst, as a police car followed at a distance at the legal road speed, Ward said.

The vehicle’s occupants – including one believed to be armed – reportedly stopped traffic on the highway to Ashhurst and took two vehicles from motorists.

“Given the immediate threat to the public a pursuit was then authorised,” Ward said.

“One of the vehicles was then pursued through Palmerston North for some time, until the vehicle’s driving became too dangerous. Police called off the pursuit, pulled to the side of the road and stopped.

“A short time later, the wanted vehicle has crashed as it headed south on Ruahine Street.”

Ward said officers found a gun in the crashed vehicle when arresting a 19-year-old man.

They are looking for two people in the other stolen vehicle, a search involving the armed offenders squad.

The victims of the carjackings were left shaken, and one suffered a head wound.

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