Live now
Start time
Playing for
End time
Listen live
Up next
Listen live on

Waitara car, baby theft case: Man arrested, charged with abduction, assault, taking motor vehicle

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 18 May 2024, 3:46pm

Waitara car, baby theft case: Man arrested, charged with abduction, assault, taking motor vehicle

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 18 May 2024, 3:46pm

A 34-year-old man has been arrested and charged over an incident in Waitara where a car was stolen with a baby inside and the infant was later abandoned on the roadside.  

The man is facing a number of charges - including abducting a child, aggravated assault and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle in Waitara, Taranaki. 

He is also facing a charge of driving while disqualified and other charges relating to failing to stop for Police. 

Detective Senior Sergeant Debra Gower said police officers last night spotted a person of interest driving on State Highway 1 just before 7.30pm. 

Police activated lights and sirens, but the driver fled. 

“Police initiated a pursuit which was soon abandoned due to the manner of driving,” Gower said. 

The car was abandoned and officers managed to find the man with the help of a police dog. The driver was found at the intersection of SH1 and Burt St about 8.30pm. 

Last week’s incident, on Friday, was dubbed concerning by authorities, who were called to the corner of Queen and Cameron streets, in Waitara, about 12.10pm. 

Video footage shared online shows a car speeding around a corner before a man is seen getting out - as the car continues to roll - and takes a baby from the backseat. He puts it on the grass berm before driving off. 

The car was taken from outside a store shortly after the child’s mother had got out. 

A 27-year-old New Plymouth woman appeared in court on Wednesday with a charge of unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle. She did not enter a plea and was remanded on bail until her next appearance. 

Mum chases after thief, gets slapped with $200 bill to get car back 

The owner of the stolen car - a 23-year-old mother - walked out of the shop where she had stopped to find her 5-month-old infant was gone, and with help from a member of the public, she chased after the thief. 

The woman’s father told the Herald what his daughter had been through - having tried to block the thief from getting away, finding her baby abandoned on the roadside and fainting when she held him in her arms again, and then getting a $200 bill from police to recover her stolen car. 

Her father called the Herald on Tuesday evening, distraught about his daughter’s horrific ordeal and how it “stinks” she was lumped with a bill after the stress she had endured. A police spokeswoman explained it was standard practice to charge a victim after their car was forensically examined. 

Her father, Shane Young, said: “It f***ing stinks! This girl has got nothing. The police have done nothing,” he said. 

“How do you think she’s feeling after this? She’s got no car, she only just got her phone back [on Tuesday] morning. Her car’s been absolutely trashed ...” 

He said the car was missing a pram and two baby seats. A wallet was also gone. 

After media coverage of her dilemma, the woman received countless offers from members of the public to help her pay the bill. 

“This bloody sucks. This woman has been through enough. Where is the empathy? I’m more than happy to cover the fee for her. I can’t believe this,” one generous person said. 

However, these offers proved unnecessary as the salvage yard her car was towed to reimbursed her the cost incurred by police. 

The police spokeswoman earlier explained how the cost was incurred: “The vehicle was initially towed and stored at a vehicle storage facility for forensic examination. 

“Police paid for this, as is usual where forensic tow is required. Once the examination was complete, the victim was advised that her vehicle was ready to be collected. 

“The vehicle was not drivable, and costs associated with towing and repair are the owner’s responsibility. While we can appreciate that paying to retrieve her vehicle in this instance could be distressing, this is something required of everyone in instances where a vehicle has had to be forensically towed.” 

These fees can be covered by a car owner’s insurance, however, the Herald understands the woman has none. 

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you