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An abandoned pursuit was far from the end of the matter for one South Island police officer. He was involved in the pursuit of a stolen vehicle with false registration plates in the early hours of the morning in late January, but it was called off after the fleeing driver narrowly missed another vehicle a woman was driving to work.
Later that day, the mother of the near-miss driver called Police to complain about the fleeing driver’s behaviour, saying her daughter was very distressed and asking whether the driver had been caught.
The officer was tasked with contacting the victim and talking to her, after which he made inquiries to locate the fleeing driver using Auror (the Crime Intelligence Platform), which collates and analyses CCTV and other evidence of offending.
“I knew the vehicle had been involved in another abandoned pursuit so used the ‘find a vehicle’ function on Auror,” he says.
“This enabled me to see the vehicle had been in several Auror customer sites in the previous month. I went to a site where the offending vehicle had been pinged on Auror and was able to obtain very good CCTV footage of the offender going into a service station shop.
“Given the link between stolen cars and petrol drive-offs, Auror is an awesome tool for any investigation, especially to identify who is using stolen vehicles/drivers of vehicles who have been involved in pursuits.”
He carried out inquiries at the service station and obtained video of the driver of the stolen vehicle.
“I was able to positively identify the driver through NIA photos and obtain a local address where he was on bail. I did a drive-by and saw the vehicle parked-up in the driveway, with two people walking to the car.”
With the help of I-car staff, cordons were put in place. Further inquiries were made at the address before the vehicle left the property and endangered more people.
“The person responsible for the petrol theft answered the door and was positively identified and arrested,” he says.
The vehicle in question was found with the ignition barrel pulled, and a search of the address revealed the VIN plates and stolen number plates for the car.
The officer contacted a colleague, who attended and searched the address with his drug dog. Methamphetamine worth $10,000, ammunition and cannabis-related equipment was discovered.
The offender—a known gang associate—is now before the courts.
The officer’s supervisor praised the solid police work.