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‘I love it, I’m just addicted’: 13yo joyrider’s startling admission

Sam Sherwood,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 May 2023, 10:19am
Photo / NZME
Photo / NZME

‘I love it, I’m just addicted’: 13yo joyrider’s startling admission

Sam Sherwood,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 May 2023, 10:19am

A 13-year-old girl involved in an 800km trip in a stolen car from Christchurch to Nelson and back told police she was “just addicted”.

Four youths, aged between 13 and 15, are believed to have stolen a car in Christchurch on Saturday night before driving to Nelson where they ram raided a petrol store.

The teens fled the scene, and were found in Christchurch when police received a report of a vehicle being driven erratically on Grahams Rd, Burnside about 10.15am.

The driver of the car failed to stop for police when signalled to do so. Police did not initiate a pursuit, instead observing the vehicle’s movements. The car crashed into a member of the public’s car, with the driver suffering minor injuries.

The offenders then attempted to flee on foot, however they were apprehended by police. The teens will be referred to youth services.

The Herald understands the 13-year-olds, a boy and a girl, were also involved in a series of car thefts a week earlier when about three cars were stolen including several petrol drive-offs as well as two fleeing driver incidents where police tried to spike them.

It’s understood that after they were apprehended the 13-year-old girl told police “I love it, I’m just addicted”.

The Herald understands the 13-year-old boy is also believed to have been involved in joyriding a stolen car to Oamaru and then back to Christchurch, a trip of about 500km.

A source said the boy’s offending was “escalating”.

“He’s just going for it.”

Driving from Christchurch to Nelson and back in stolen cars was “just Russian roulette”, the source said.

“We have so many crashes with your average driver through the Lewis Pass… It’s a long drive, it’s going to be tedious, and for a young person who probably has a very short attention span that’s going to be a lot of effort to keep it on the road.”

The Herald earlier revealed a 9-year-old was believed to be involved in one of many groups of youth offenders behind a series of car thefts and burglaries in Christchurch.

A police source told the Herald staff were seeing a “continual drop in age” in youth offenders.

“I think that’s a very concerning aspect because for us it’s now dropping very strongly into that non-prosecutable group and that’s causing us headaches because we can’t bring any control to that, we can’t bring any meaningful accountability.

“There is still the activeness of the higher age level which just continues on as it always has, but this younger group what we are seeing is just that repetitive nature of their offending because they’re getting caught, they’re getting returned home and they’re out and gone within hours and back into the offending.”

Canterbury metro area commander Superintendent Lane Todd earlier told the Herald youth offending was an issue that is being experienced right across the country at present, with Canterbury “no exception”.

“Police is committed to working with our partners and communities to prevent youth offending, support victims of crime, and hold young offenders to account in a meaningful and effective way.

“Effectively dealing with youth offenders provides a unique opportunity to prevent future harm in our communities.”

Police were involved in a number of initiatives aimed at preventing youth offending and reoffending.

“We recognise that in order to prevent future generations of young people from serious harm, we need to work in a collaborative way to address the underlying causes of youth offending.”

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