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A Whangārei man was driving home from work when he was stopped and dragged from his car before being badly beaten and robbed.
And he has a message for fellow motorists: “Make sure you keep your cars locked while driving, and don’t get out if somebody stops you like that.”
The man, in his 60s, who the Northern Advocate has agreed not to name, was driving home to Kara on State Highway 1 Western Hills Dr last Saturday at 3.30am, when he saw a ute approaching fast in his rearview mirror.
He said the ute – a grey Ford Ranger – was slowing down and speeding up around him, so he dropped back to give it some room.
However, as he approached the SH1/SH14 intersection, one of the two men who were sitting in the back of the ute tray threw a can at his car. The ute stopped right in front of him, forcing him to stop, but before he could do anything, he was on the ground being pummelled by “the big guy who was on the tray” and the other man who had been riding in the tray.
‘’He punched me in the side of the head and I just went into survival mode. I just curled into a ball on the road and put my arms over my face and head to protect me, but they were kicking away at me. I thought, ‘Great, really brave, these big guys in their 20s beating up a guy in his 60s’.”
He suspects the other two from the car then attempted to steal his car, but as it is an electric BMW and he had the keys in his pocket, it would not start. However, he suspects that is when they took his bag, which contained his wallet, phone, work ID and other important documents.
The assault left him battered and bruised, with cuts to his face and head and blood “all over”. He managed to get back in his car, then drove to Whangārei Police Station.
However, he said that it took about 30 minutes or so to raise anybody in the police station, and when an officer eventually came to take his statement, it was an hour or so after the assault, by which time the perpetrators would have been miles away. He then went to Whangārei Hospital, where he was later treated for his injuries.
Some of the items from his bag were found later that morning in Tennyson St, Otaika after he was alerted when his work contacted him to say that his ID badge had been found there. So, he went back to station about 12.30pm to inform them that those items had been found in the street. Again, he says, the station was closed and he had to wait another 30 minutes or so for somebody to come and see him.
“It seems bizarre that, in this day and age, on a Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon, the main police station in our biggest city is closed.”
He was quick to point out that the officer who dealt with him did his job well, but was worried that it had taken so long at the station to get attention.
“If you happen to spot a grey Ford Ranger, rego NND205, or if you know anything about these ‘brave’ guys who attacked me, please report to the police,” the man said.
“If these guys are out there and prepared to do this to me – how long before they seriously hurt somebody? I wasn’t fearing for my life at all during it, but it’s a real worry that there are people out there prepared to do this. We need to have them caught.”
Police said they understood it would have been an extremely distressing incident for the victim.
Police said the investigation is ongoing, and encourage anyone with information to contact them on 105 or online at https://www.police.govt.nz/use-105, using Update My Report and referencing file number 230204/3786.
Information can also be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.
Police said Whangārei Police Station’s front counter is open to the public only between 8am and 4pm on weekdays. There is also a phone outside the station that people can use at any time that will directly connect them to police.
When the front counter is closed, the Whangārei community continues to receive a 24/7 policing service for incidents requiring police attendance. If it is an emergency and happening now, please call 111. To report things have already happened which don’t require urgent police assistance, please call or report online via 105.