Thrilling Auckland CBD man hunt ends in arrest by cherry picker

By Michael Neilson

A half-naked man has been arrested on the roof of an Auckland's CBD building via a cherry picker after a dramatic police chase left a trail of blood early this morning.

Witness Simon Anderson said the man had broken into an apartment block on Emily Place and clambered along rooftops, before he was finally talked down by his girlfriend in a cherry picker.

"It was a pretty crazy night," said Anderson, who assisted in the chase and captured the finale on video.

At 22.58 on Wednesday Police were called to Anzac Avenue, to a report of a general theft.

Around midnight, Anderson heard loud shouting on Emily Place outside his apartment.

He saw a man, his girlfriend and two police officers.

The couple then jumped a wall into one of the gardens around the apartment building.

Anderson ran down to the street to open the apartment entrance for the police, who, he said, were waiting for back-up.

The woman then tried to scale the second fence to the apartment block - a 9000-volt electric fence - but was "blown off".

The man was able to climb the fence, and got to level two of the building.

"Hanging precariously from a ledge over about a 20-metre drop, he somehow managed to swing so he landed on a balcony on level two of our building where he kicked in the patio glass door," Anderson said.

The man then ran through the apartment to a fire exit and stairwell.

Anderson let the policemen into the apartment and joined the chase.

"I just thought, 'I have to help, this man has stolen something and the police are chasing him,'" Anderson said.

At the stairwell the man met two policemen and Anderson in "hot pursuit".

The man ran up to level 11, punched through a glass pane and opened the security door onto floor 11, spilling blood as he went.

"From then on the police could follow the blood trail, and he bled everywhere," Anderson said.

The man then ran back down another stairwell to level one.

"Having just run all the way up, he ran all of the way down the stairs to level one and out of the building into another of our gardens, heading towards Fort St," Anderson said.

"Seeing the police waiting for him down on Fort St, he decided to head across the rooftops.

"He made it only as far as the Jucy Car Rentals building next door where he got stuck, so he decided to hide.

"His hide-and-seek skills were no match for the police helicopter,however, which had him in the searchlight within five minutes.

"The police and the fire service spent the next two hours negotiating with him to come down."

While he was up there he removed his shirt and jeans, stripping down to some running shorts.

In Anderson's video the man can be seen negotiating with police amid loud, violent outbursts and appears to be attacking the cherry picker.

Eventually police sent the girlfriend up in the cherry picker, who was able to talk him down, Anderson said.

"All up, it was a rather eventful evening for me, tearing around with the police trying to find this chap in our building, followed by a nice chat with some of my neighbours as we watched the negotiation," Anderson said.

"It was crazy. We have never had a break-in in the building before."

Anderson said it was a "fairly massive operation", comprising at least 20 police, a dozen firefighters, seven patrol cars, two fire engines and a helicopter.

"[The neighbours and I] were all extremely impressed with the thoroughness of the police and the fire service."

The man is due to appear in Auckland District Court today on several charges, including unlawfully being in a building.

Comments are being sought Jucy Car Rental.

- NZ Herald

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