Police are urgently seeking Alan James Harris in relation to a burglary yesterday at Palmerston North Police Station in which several firearms were stolen.
And an urgent national enquiry has been launched by Police Commissioner Mike Bush, with an immediate audit on security around firearms at all stations nationwide.
He has directed an investigation be conducted into how this offender was able to gain access to the Police station.
Public warned not to approach Harris
Harris is a 38-year-old male of European ancestry with short cropped hair, a dark beard and of slender build.
Police and Armed Offenders Squad staff have executed a number of search warrants at Palmerston North addresses over the last 24 hours as part of the ongoing investigation.
The burglary occurred early yesterday morning.
Police staff member disturbed burglar
The offender was disturbed by a member of Police staff in the yard area of the Police station around 7.40am.
He left the scene in a vehicle and Police have since recovered this and another vehicle linked to the offender.
Harris is still believed to be in the Central District area, and Police are urging anyone who knows his whereabouts, or is in contact with him, to contact Police immediately.
Burglary ‘being taken very seriously’
Acting Central District Commander Inspector Sarah Stewart says the burglary is being taken very seriously:
“Locating Harris is a high priority for Central District Police. I urge anyone with information about his whereabouts to come forward to Police.
“A warrant for his arrest has been issued.
He should not be approached.”
“Eleven firearms which were in an exhibit storage area are currently unaccounted for. I should be clear that these were not Police firearms, but were a range of weapons being held as exhibits or handed in for destruction.
“I am very concerned about what has occurred — it is absolutely unacceptable,” says Inspector Stewart.
Commissioner Mike Bush has directed an investigation be conducted into how this offender was able to gain access to the Police station, as well as an immediate audit on security around firearms at all stations nationwide.
Anyone with information that could help the enquiry team is urged to contact Palmerston North Police immediately on (06) 351 3600.
Information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.