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An alleged vehicle thief was stopped in his tracks when the four-wheel-drive he was in ran out of petrol, Senior Sergeant Steve Aitken, of Dunedin, said.
A Lake Waihola resident had given chase when his four-wheel-drive was allegedly driven away, about 1.30pm yesterday, Snr Sgt Aitken said.
The vehicle had been sitting in its owner's driveway, but the owner "looked up and saw it disappear".
The vehicle ran out of fuel at Burnside.
The owner stopped, and assisted by a passer-by, spoke to the man.
Missing since last Monday, the 38-year-old, from Wanaka, had been the subject of a search and rescue operation yesterday morning in the Lawrence area after his vehicle was found there, Snr Sgt Aitken said.
He would be held in custody before appearing in the Dunedin District Court this week charged with unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, Snr Sgt Aitken said.