Crime spree alleged

A 21-year-old Invercargill man has been apprehended at an Arrowtown camping ground following an alleged four-day crime spree in which police say he stole several cars and burgled properties from Invercargill to Queenstown and Dunedin.

Sergeant Matt Scoles, of Dunedin, said the man went ''awol'' on Monday evening from an Invercargill hospital, where he was required to stay to receive treatment.

Since then, he had allegedly taken a vehicle, left Invercargill and was believed to be responsible for at least five burglaries, several thefts and two assaults between Invercargill, Queenstown and Dunedin, Sgt Scoles said.

Dunedin police came close to apprehending the man on Wednesday, when he allegedly took a vehicle from Dunedin International Airport.

Police spotted him on the Southern Motorway and gave chase, but the man managed to avoid capture.

He is then believed to have dumped the vehicle in Caversham, before allegedly burgling a house in the suburb, Sgt Scoles said.

The 21-year-old spent the night in a Dunedin hotel, passing himself off as a Swiss national.

The next day, he allegedly took another vehicle before heading to Central Otago.

Senior Constable Chris Blackford, of Queenstown, said Queenstown police apprehended the man at an Arrowtown camping ground about 8.50pm on Thursday, when they triangulated his position using cellphone towers.

The man was transported to a medical facility in Dunedin, Const Blackford said.

Sgt Scoles said investigations of the man's actions over the past four days were continuing, and he was still to be fully interviewed.

The 21-year-old is the second person to have been apprehended by police this week for allegedly stealing cars and going on a crime spree around the Southern region.

A 22-year-old Dunedin man faces five criminal charges and the likelihood of more after an alleged 48-hour, 1200km joyride through Otago, which ended late on Wednesday.

- john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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