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"Screwdriver" Gang Busted

Screwdriver Gang Busted

Three men that made up the notorious “screw-driver” gang along were caught by police last night after a short chase by police cars in the Auckland Suburb of Mt Wellington.

John Koteka, Elder Brown and Paul Tipene and an unidentified female associate were swooped on by police, who used their cars to trap the four, in the back blocks of an industrial suburb.

The three along with the woman were held in custody last night for questioning but have yet to be charged. Police believe they were plotting to carry out a sixth bank robbery when they were caught.

The gang are alleged to have robbed five Auckland banks from December to January this year. The gang's tag - “screw-driver” - came from their use of screw-drivers as threatening weapons, and as tools to open bank-drawers full money.

Police say one of the men had so radically disguised his appearance while on the run that they had to identify him with his fingerprints.

The men are likely to face five counts of robbery and one charge of conspiracy to commit robbery when they appear in the Waitakere District Court today.

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