A daylight burglary and botched getaway in central Dunedin unfolded like a scene from a video game, a witness says.
The third-year accounting student, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the incident as “hectic”.
“It was like something out of GTA (Grand Theft Auto),” he said.
He was returning to Union St after dropping off his parents following graduation events on Saturday afternoon, when he saw a car parked haphazardly across several perpendicular spaces outside his girlfriend’s home, facing uphill.
“We kind of had a laugh about it,” he said.
But it soon became clear there was a more sinister reason behind the manoeuvre.
“The bro was coming out of the flat with heaps of bags …” the witness said.
“I chucked my car on the handbrake and was like ‘what are you doing, bro?'”
He said the man appeared to panic and consider whether to retrieve the bags, which they later discovered were filled with electronics and other items from inside the property.
Instead, he jumped into the driver’s seat and made his escape.
Only it appeared hill starts were not his strong suit.
“He was accelerating but rolling back slowly,” the witness said.
The alleged burglar hit the student’s car then “floored it” in reverse, swinging the car around and slamming into the only other vehicle parked up nearby — a recently bought Subaru.
The witness’ girlfriend gave chase, using her phone to film but, by chance, an off-duty police officer was passing and took up the pursuit.
The 31-year-old driver and a 44-year-old woman with him quickly abandoned the damaged vehicle and made off on foot.
Senior Sergeant Anthony Bond, of Dunedin, said the man convinced a member of the public to give him a ride to a Brockville property before he was found and arrested.
He was charged with burglary, careless driving and driving while disqualified and will remain in custody until a hearing before the Dunedin District Court next year.
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