Waitomo gunman dangerous and should not be approached

Tuesday 14 September 2010, 11:29AM
By New Zealand Police


Armed Police established a number of cordons and carried out searches of several properties around Otorohanga and Waitomo looking for a man who fired a gun during the robbery of a King Country Tavern overnight.

Te Kuiti Sub-Area Manager, Senior Sergeant Rob Van Kalken, said Te Rangi TRANGMAR, 24, was dangerous and should not be approached.

"Last night TRANGMAR rode a 4x4 motorbike up to the front of 'Curly's Bar in Waitomo where he has entered the premises and approached the publican, threatening him with a .22 cal firearm and demanded cash, about 7pm.

"The barman said he didn't have any money and a shot was fired, from there a number people have leapt on the offender and overpowered him, recovering his weapon."

Mr Van Kalken said Police did not recommend people confront armed offenders, rather that they comply with any demands and contact Police as soon as possible.

"TRANGMAR managed to break free from the group after a struggle and he has then ridden his quad bike into the front of the bar before fleeing.

"Cordons were established and armed Police carried out a search of seven properties overnight in attempts to locate him and at this stage he has managed to evade our staff."

Last night's events are just one of a number of incidents that have Police warning that the gunman should not be approached.

"We understand the first incident happened on Sunday when TRANGMAR threatened a neighbour at Honikiwi after being asked what he was doing with a motorcycle that was not his.

"A dispute broke out in which TRANGMAR punched the neighbour through the open window of his vehicle and then pointed a rifle at the man. The victim drove off and grabbed a firearm himself, discharging a warning shot."

Mr Van Kalken said the offender went home, grabbed a steel bar and returned to the neighbour's home, proceeding to smash up several vehicles.

"About this time some other neighbours arrived and managed to extract the property owner and his partner and the residents awaited the arrival of Police."

Supported by the Waikato Armed Offenders Squad, Police carried out several searches of properties however TRANGMAR was not seen until he allegedly stole a quad bike from an Otewa Rd property and road it to an Island Rd.
"Here we understand he pointed a firearm at a mother, demanding cash for a debt her partner allegedly owed before he fled and ended up at the Waitomo bar."

Police from across the Waikato and King Country have converged on Otorohanga while an assessment is made on how best to bring the situation to a successful conclusion.

TRANGMAR is described as a male Maori, 187cm tall of medium- athletic build with a distinctive, thin swastika tattoo on the left side of his face. He has an extensive criminal history, is dangerous and should not be approached.

"Efforts are being made via the offender's family to try and get him to give himself up without further incident meanwhile we are asking anyone who sees or who has knowledge of TRANGMAR'S whereabouts to ring 111 immediately."

Anyone with any information on the case is asked to contact the Otorohanga Police station on 07 8737399, alternatively information can be left anonymously on the Crimestoppers crimeline, 0800 555111.