Car-crime spree: Teens charged after 1000km on the run

Two teenagers who eluded police for three days over 1000km during a spree of alleged car thefts fuelled by stolen petrol have appeared in the Invercargill District Court on a host of charges.

Tyrone Andrew Thomas (18) and a 17 year-old began their journey south from Christchurch last Wednesday before being arrested in Riverton on Saturday.

Constable Wayne McClelland told the court that on Wednesday Thomas was alleged to have stolen and used a debit card.

Then on Thursday, he and his friend allegedly stole a Mazda Demio and four bottles of whisky in Christchurch's Wigram suburb. The four bottles were valued at $300.

Later that day they allegedly filled up the car at a service station in Greymouth with $65 of petrol without paying.

On Friday, the two were seen in Winton and Invercargill where they again allegedly drove off without paying for petrol.

Police attempted to stop them during a chase in Queens Dr and Tay St, in Invercargill.

"Police followed for a short time. This was quickly abandoned due to erratic driving of the fleeing driver,'' Const McClelland said.

The pair face a raft of charges including reckless driving, failing to stop and theft.

The stolen vehicle was recovered after two offenders fled on foot.

On Saturday, a stolen Toyota was seen travelling north near Mataura.

Police again followed them for a while before again abandoning the chase due to the "nature of driving''.

The series of alleged crimes ended after a off-duty officer noticed the vehicle and notified its location south of Winton. The pair eluded police again, but the vehicle was seen near Wallacetown. Police followed at a safe distance before bringing the spree to an end as the youths tried to leave Riverton.

Counsel Scott Williamson asked Judge Bernadette Farnan for the case to be transferred to the courts in their hometown of Christchurch. Both were remanded in custody until February 28, when they are expected to appear in the Christchurch District Court.

luisa.girao@odt.co.nz

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