Police are tonight continuing their hunt for Mongrel Mob
member who escaped from a court cell just after being
Police asked for public help to find the 27-year-old, who
escaped from Whakatane District Court yesterday afternoon
after being sentenced to four months in prison for assaulting
After being sentenced he was put in a court cell by police
officers on court escort duty. While the officers dealt with
another prisoner, Tangitutu escaped and managed to leave the
The escape was discovered a few minutes later, about 5.15pm.
A police spokeswoman said Tangitutu was still on the run this
After he escaped, cordons were put in place around Whakatane,
his victim was contacted and arrangements made to ensure her
Eastern Bay of Plenty police area commander Inspector Sandra
Venables said there would be a full investigation into how
Tangitutu escaped and a review of court escort processes.
" ... our priority at this stage is locating him. I appeal to
anyone who sees him or knows of his location to contact us
immediately. It is of course possible that he will seek
refuge with family or friends and I need to make it clear
that anyone found to be assisting him in evading police could
also face prosecution," Ms Venables said.
Tangitutu was described as Maori, about 1.8 metres tall. He
has gang affiliations and a distinctive full facial tattoo
with the word "Mongrel" above his upper lip and "MMM" on his
forehead, which stands for Mighty Mongrel Mob.
He has links to Gisborne, Whakatane, Tauranga and Auckland's
North Shore. He is known to carry weapons and should not be
approached, police warned.
Any sightings should be reported immediately to police.