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A 16-year-old boy has been charged with aggravated robbery after an crime spree that ended with a stolen car crashing during a police pursuit in central Auckland.
Police said the pursuit started about 12.35am on the North Shore, where a string of aggravated robberies was reported, and continued at high speeds along the motorway towards central Auckland.
The car crashed at the intersection of Nelson St and Fanshawe St.
Two teenage boys, aged 16 and 17, were taken to hospital with minor injuries. They were released into police custody this morning.
Police said a 16-year-old had been charged with aggravated robbery and was to appear in the North Shore District Court today.
The older teen was still speaking to police, but was also expected to be charged with aggravated robbery. Both teenagers were excepted to face further charges.
The incident started after a report of a vehicle acting suspiciously in Devonport about 11pm yesterday. Police checks revealed the vehicle had been reported stolen.
Shortly afterwards, an aggravated robbery was reported in a nearby cemetery on Victoria Rd.
Police said two 18-year-old victims were approached by two offenders and allegedly punched and kicked. Both victims had their wallets stolen and one had his phone taken.
When police arrived, they found four people inside the stolen vehicle. The occupants told police the driver of the car had fled and was armed with a firearm and a knife.
A second aggravated robbery was reported on Clarence St about 11.45pm.
A 23-year-old man and his 21-year-old girlfriend were allegedly approached by two offenders as they sat in their car in a driveway.
The man was pulled from the car and hit around the head with a bottle, causing a gash to his head. The victim's girlfriend was also removed from the car and hit with a bottle.
The offenders then stole the man's car.
Police then received a call from a woman whose car was rammed by a vehicle near the Highbury shops in Birkenhead.
The woman pulled over and one of the offenders attempted to open the door of her car and banged on it with his fists. She managed to drive away before the offender could get in.
The third aggravated robbery took place about midnight outside the McDonald's in Glenfield.
One of the offenders got out of a car, which matched the description of the recently stolen vehicle, and approached a 17-year-old boy who was standing outside the restaurant on the corner of Kaipatiki Rd and Glenfield Rd.
The offender allegedly threatened the teenager and ripped his backpack from him. He then got back in the car, where the other offender was waiting, and fled.
Police tried to stop the car around the intersection of the Albany and Upper Harbour highways, but the car fled and the pursuit was launched.
One of the victims - the man who was struck with a bottle - was taken to North Shore Hospital, where he received medical treatment before being discharged this morning.
Officers were talking to all the victims, who would be offered assistance from victim support.
Detective Senior Sergeant Stan Brown said the events involved a rapid escalation of offending across multiple areas.
"We're now working to piece together the events as they unfolded. We've got a number of scene examinations underway, we've seized the two cars that are believed to have been stolen and they'll be forensically examined over the next few days," he said.
Police had spoken to the four people found inside the first stolen car in Devonport. Two people were charged on unrelated matters.
"At this stage we can't say what has caused this offending, and questions about whether drugs or alcohol were involved are factors which we'll be looking into," Mr Brown said.
The crash was being investigated by the police serious crash unit. The Independent Police Conduct Authority will also be advised of the incident.
- By Matthew Backhouse of APNZ