Bay of Islands Abduction: Operation Falls
New Zealand Police National News Release
11:57am 15 November 2006
Police in the Bay of Islands area continue to investigate the armed abduction and robbery of a young married Dutch tourist couple in their campervan at about 10 pm on Friday 10th November from the Haruru Falls car park, near Paihia, in the Bay of Islands.
The investigation team of 28 police staff supported by specialist forensic staff are based at the Kaikohe Police Station.
The two male offenders who presented a firearm at the victims, forcing them in their white 1988 Toyota Hiace campervan, then driving the victims' campervan around the Mid North area for several hours are described as:
- Males, possibly Maori,
- dark complexion,
- aged 20 - 40 years,
- both of solid build.
There seems to be a slight age difference between the two offenders, the older being more dominant and aggressive in nature. While both are described as being solid build the older of the two offenders is described as the 'more solid' of the pair.
As a result of calls and sightings of the campervan received, Police are now widening their investigation to include the Whangarei City area where it appears the offenders have taken the abducted couple in the early hours of Saturday 11th November 2006, prior to the victims and their campervan being abandoned in Towai Road.
Bank enquires to date indicate that the offenders in this crime have attempted to use the victims bank cards at a main road Kawakawa ATM between 6 and 6.30 am on Saturday 11th November. Police want hear from any members of the public who may have seen anyone attempting to use any ATM machine on the main road of Kawakawa township early on Saturday morning.
Detective Inspector Mike Pannett states, "The offenders in this matter will be paying a lot of attention to media coverage of this case. History has shown us that these offenders will talk to friends and associates about what they have done. People near these offenders will be aware or suspect they have committed this crime. He urges that these people contact the police, in confidence if necessary". He further points out that any person who assists these offenders to avoid apprehension or evade Police will be dealt with severely.
Police confirm that they will not be releasing any personal details of the victims in this matter. The couple continue to be cared for by Victim Support. The couple again wish to thank the public for their messages of support and kind offers. They re enforce their previous request that their privacy be respected at this time.
Police are appealing to any persons who may have visited the Haruru Falls visitor car park on Friday 10th November or sighted the white Toyota campervan in the Haruru Falls, Paihia, Kawakawa or Whangarei area overnight on Friday 10th - Saturday 11th November, to ring the Police Operation Falls base on phone: (09) 405 2966.
Police advise those camping either in tent or campervan in the Bay of Islands area to use designated camping grounds and to report or phone any suspicious behaviour to the nearest Police Station.