A Mount Eden prison inmate accused of escaping after he allegedly failed to return from a tangi last month has been arrested following a lengthy police chase yesterday evening in South Auckland.

The 21-year-old could face up to five years’ prison if convicted of not returning to custody on November 4 as was required.

A hearing was held on his behalf on Wednesday at Manukau District Court, but he did not appear in person or via audio-video feed due to possible Covid-19 symptoms. He was remanded to custody until at least his next scheduled court appearance, set for next month.

In addition to the escape charge, he also now faces charges of robbery, assault with a weapon, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, resisting arrest, two counts of failing to stop for police and two counts of dangerous driving.

Law enforcement first noticed a stolen Audi in Pukekohe around 6pm yesterday, according to a police spokesperson. The vehicle was later located with the help of the police Eagle helicopter, roughly 20km away in Waiuku.

The vehicle again fled police and was followed by helicopter as it drove at high speeds through the Franklin area, authorities said. The vehicle was met by someone in another car, and they all got into the second car, police said.

As the new car was fleeing police, someone from inside it managed to smash a patrol vehicle windscreen by throwing an object at it, police said. Three people were taken into custody after police were eventually able to deploy road spikes and stop the second vehicle.

A 19-year-old woman has been charged with robbery and two counts each of failing to stop and dangerous driving, while a 40-year-old man has been charged with one count each of failure to stop for police and dangerous driving.

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