Jason Dickinson, seen here with daughter Lily-Jean, admits
throwing a rock at the vehicle wasn't the smartest thing to
do. Photo / Matt Jordan
Rod Dickinson says he's unlikely to repeat the random act
of kindness he showed to a complete stranger who returned the
favour by putting a knife to his throat before calmly telling
him he would kill him.
The incident was one of a number involving a 19-year-old man
who allegedly went on a rampage from Owhango to Taumarunui
stealing at least five vehicles and eight firearms.
The man is alleged to have threatened at least two people
with a knife, including Mr Dickinson.
He is also believed to have threatened people with a firearm,
including Mr Dickinson and his son Jason.
"He seemed really polite and well-dressed, it was like he was
going to church when he came around and asked if I knew the
number for a wrecker's yard," said Mr Dickinson.
"I checked the phone book for him and while I was doing that
he swiped my son's keys and then the phone rang.
"It was my neighbour and she was telling me to be careful of
this guy. The phone was on speaker and he heard it and put a
knife here and said 'hang up the phone, or I'll slit your
The man left without harming Mr Dickinson in his son Jason's
1987 Honda Accord. He returned to the area about 20 minutes
later after allegedly driving off from the Manunui Challenge
service station with $79 of petrol when Jason Dickinson threw
a rock at the vehicle.
Jason Dickinson said "it probably wasn't the wisest thing to
do, but I just wanted my car back".
"He stopped and pointed it [the gun] at us and told us he
would blow our heads off. It was pretty crazy s***.
"He slowed right down and jumped out of the vehicle and
pulled out the rifle and let a shot off ... and then he took
off back into town."
The Herald understands the man then went to the Mobil service
station in Taumarunui where he ordered a pack of cigarettes
but did not pay.
It is understood a staff member at the service station took
the key out of the ignition and disarmed him. He then walked
off from the station into the township.
By now police had swarmed on Taumarunui with armed offender
squads called in from Wanganui, Palmerston North and
The town was cordoned off for at least four hours as 50
officers, a dog squad and several helicopters searched for
the man, who was arrested by armed police not long after.
Wanganui Ruapehu sub-area commander inspector Steve
Mastrovich said it was amazing no one was killed.
"It is amazing, really, and those very same people who helped
him could well have been killed, it had all the hallmarks of
a mass killing, really.
"But people should take comfort out here that if incidents
like this happen, we are going to respond."
Mr Mastrovich believes about five shots had been fired but he
could not confirm where.
He said the police investigation was trying to piece together
what happened over the area between Raurimu, Whakahoro and
Taumarunui in the early hours of yesterday up until
The man has been charged with the unlawful taking of a motor
vehicle but is likely to face more serious charges. He is to
appear in the Taumarunui District Court this morning where
police will be seeking to have him remanded in custody.
Rod Dickinson said he would be unlikely to help any strangers
who came to his door. "Not now, no ... it makes you think
- James Ihaka of the NZ Herald