Alleged car, gun thief due in court

A 24-year-old man arrested yesterday after a manhunt in Southland is due to appear in court today facing a raft of charges.

Hori Gemmell was arrested at a property in Te Tipua, near Mataura, yesterday afternoon after allegedly stealing a police car and two police pistols in a drama-filled night in Gore earlier this week.

Police said yesterday one police-issue Glock pistol had been recovered, but a second Glock was missing.

In an update last night, police said the man was due to appear in the Invercargill District Court today, facing two counts each of reckless driving, theft, and unlawful possession of a pistol and one of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.

Southern district commander Superintendent Paul Basham told media yesterday a police dog was involved in the arrest, and "one or two people" were injured.

Southern district commander Superintendent Paul Basham speaks to media outside the Gore Police...
Southern district commander Superintendent Paul Basham speaks to media outside the Gore Police Station yesterday. PHOTO: LAURA SMITH

Two people were in custody, from different addresses.

"We are also speaking to a number of other people whom our inquiries have led us to," Supt Basham said.

Police had worked "relentlessly" to resolve the situation, he said.

Anyone tempted to hide or dispose of the firearm should understand police would have a "relentless focus" on them, he said.

The 24-year-old man was captured yesterday about 3pm after he allegedly stole the pistols early on Thursday when police left their keys in the car. They had pursued Gemmell on foot after a serious incident, and when he doubled back, he also stole their car.

Normal protocol would be for the officers to take the keys with them when they left the vehicle, Supt Basham said.

While no police staff were injured and no shots were fired during the arrest, police were not in a position to say whether any shots had been fired from the recovered gun at any time.

"The job is not finished and our focus now remains on the recovery of the outstanding Glock," Supt Basham said.

Police also blocked access to Invercargill Airport yesterday morning and searched a plane on the tarmac, but a sighting on the plane turned out to be a false alarm.

That came after Gemmell appeared to have posted about the manhunt on social media.

Gemmell sparked a massive manhunt, involving raids on properties across Eastern Southland, and while he was wanted on a warrant to arrest issued by the Gore District Court earlier this month, police would not be drawn on why the warrant was issued.

They have signalled a review of procedures..

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