20 Jan 2009

Sightings of escaped prisoners in Hamilton

1:17 pm on 20 January 2009

There have been sightings of three remand prisoners on the run in Hamilton after escaping from a van taking them to Waikeria Prison.

Police say Thomas Te Rangi, 19, Darren William Snowden, 22, and Richard Thomas Joseph, 30, should not be approached.

Hamilton police deployment manager Karen Henrikson told Summer Report members of the public have reported seeing the men on Monday night near where they escaped.

Karen Henrikson said the search would continue on Tuesday and she is confident the police will have the men back in custody by the end of the day.

Police are speaking with the known associates of the remand prisoners. The three men have contacts in Hamilton, Bay of Plenty and Taupo.

Technical malfunction led to escape

Hamilton area commander Inspector Rob Lindsay said the three escaped from the van at a lights on Ohaupo Road in the suburb of Melville about 10.30am on Monday.

Mr Lindsay said a technical malfunction led to their escape. Police officers sitting at the front of the van heard a door bang as the prisoners were escaping and stopped to call for help.

Mr Lindsay said the trio apparently made their way into a bushy gully off Pine Avenue.

Melville residents had earlier been asked to stay indoors so not to spoil any spoor for police dogs tracking various properties, as well as for their own safety.