12 Mar 2014

Top cop gives chase

4:00 pm on 12 March 2014

A man has been charged with theft following the armed robbery of a downtown Wellington jewellery store.

The alarm was raised at about 5pm on Monday when a man grabbed a handful of bracelets from Walker and Hall on Lambton Quay.

Graham Aspinall, who is 24, has been charged with stealing $10,000 worth of jewellery from the store and using an imitation pistol to prevent his arrest.

His lawyer, Keith Jeffries, told the Wellington District Court on Wednesday afternoon that Mr Aspinall could not appear, as he is in hospital under police guard.

Radio New Zealand understands that while trying to avoid arrest he jumped over a 5m-tall overbridge and broke bones in his legs. He continued to run despite his injuries, and was later caught by a police dog.

Judge Peter Hobbs remanded him in custody until Friday and he will seek bail on that day.

Wellington's top-ranked policewoman, Superintendent Sandra Manderson was off-duty at the time of the robbery and browsing in the shop when it happened.

She told Morning Report the robber ran out the door and she gave chase, running down the street and yelling "Stop that man, he's a thief".

Ms Manderson said she chased him to a car parked in Stout St, but he had a handgun on the car seat, so she backed off. The senior police officer said she was very pleased with the public reponse when she called for assistance as she chased the man.