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The chase ended in a bloodied man being Tasered and cuffed, thanks to the actions of bystanders and police who intervened.
It was the first of two dramas on the North Shore this morning. In the other, reports of a gunman sent schools into lockdown.
It's understood the two events are unrelated.
Brandon Boyle said he was on Church St around 9.45am when a man strode out of Holy Trinity Church, slammed the doors and got into a blue Toyota Corolla parked on the grass nearby and drove off - crashing it a few hundred metres away.
"Then he hijacked an old lady's Nissan Leaf - he threw her out of the car," said Boyle.
The woman looked 60-70, he said. "He just took her out of the car. She wasn't on the ground but she was stumbling."
The man drove away. Boyle and another bystander chased the car on foot, and alerted arriving police that the man had changed cars.
"We kept chasing and chasing until he crashed into about six cars on the left side of the main road. Then as he was crashing into that he swerved right into a fence."
Boyle said he had tried to yank open the front door, but a police officer came from the left and hopped into the passenger seat.
The driver zoomed off again, with the officer still in the car, but crashed into another car - which Boyle believed was due to the police officer yanking the steering wheel.
Boyle, the other bystander and police officers chased him round the back of the house but he crossed the street to another house, where they cornered him on a deck.
Three police Tasered the man, Boyle he said.
"He went down pretty easy, straight away. One cop Tasered him then two others came after and Tasered him as well."
The man - wearing only gray sweatpants - appeared to be bleeding from his chin and had blood on his hands, Boyle said.
Despite the drama, Boyle was unfazed. "I'm from South Africa so we deal with this sort of stuff on the daily - it's nothing new to me," he said.
Another Devonport resident said she arrived on Domain St around 9.45am to see a line of police cars. She then heard the crashing of a car and loud popping of tyres.
The resident said she had thought seen police ready to lay out a spiked mat to stop cars.
"A man gets out of the car [that's crashed] and runs to a house and smashes their gate out and then runs into the back garden of the property. The man then runs across the street to another house," she said.
"The man was shirtless and there was a smear of blood him, I guess because he was in the accident."
The resident said the man was then apprehended on the street by armed officers.
"He looked in his late 20s and was pretty dishevelled."
The resident said she rushed to check on her family in nearby Cambridge Tce because one of the houses the shirtless man ran into shared a fence with her own.
Police said one person was in custody after "an incident involving a stolen vehicle in Devonport" this morning but said there were no reports of injuries.