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Police Seek Single Suspect Following Elaborate Bomb Hoax

At 10:35am on Friday 24 January Police received a call for service after a man entered BNZ on the corner of Ronwood Ave and Great South Road, Manukau, and demanded cash. The man was given a small amount of cash and the left the bank, leaving behind what he claimed to be an explosive device and threatening to detonate it remotely. There were a number of people in the bank at the time.

Police were on the scene immediately with fire, ambulance and NZ Defence Force bomb squad, and the bank and surrounding businesses were evacuated. Wide cordons were also put in place on Ronwood Ave and Great South Road.

The bomb squad entered the building and were able to establish that the package was an elaborate hoax and there was no threat to the public.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Ellwood of Counties Manukau Police says this is a serious incident and Police are using a number of resource to identify the suspect.

"Our District Command Centre, intelligence unit and CIB have been working together to quickly establish some positive leads on the suspect," he says. "We'll be looking to apprehend the man responsible as soon as possible."

The man was captured on CCTV footage in the bank. He is described as a light-skinned Maori or Polynesian, wearing a black wig. He was wearing a black jacket and light coloured jeans, black shoes with white stripes, carrying a black bag.

"We hope that the circulation of the suspect's image will assist us in identifying him," say Detective Senior Sergeant Ellwood.

Police thank the public for their cooperation during this incident.

Anyone who recognises the man pictured or knows anything about the bomb hoax should call Police immediately on 09 213 9443. Information can also be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. The investigation is named "Operation Sipsey".


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