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Taupo teen tangle blamed on social media

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/11/2016 Sean Martin

Three Auckland teens desperate to meet up with a 16-year-old girl they met online allegedly stole three cars to get to Taupo before police caught up with them, by which time she had ditched her electronic monitoring bracelet and was in a car with four other boys.

Police are blaming the girl's determined use of social media for the weekend's string of events which involved five stolen cars, at least four of them damaged, seven boys and ended with her crashing a police car.

They first became aware of what was going on when they stopped a stolen car with road spikes about 20km north of Taupo early on Saturday morning.

The three boys in the car, aged 12, 14 and 15, had earlier stolen two other cars because they were determined to meet the girl they had been speaking to online, says Senior Sergeant Tony Jeurissen.

Later in the morning police were called to a stolen and crashed car at a spot not far from where the road spikes were used.

They found the girl and four "juvenile males", where a member of the public has helped "detain and corral" them.

"While in police custody at this scene the 16-year-old female, who had earlier removed her electronic monitoring bracelet, climbed into the driver's seat of the marked police car.

"She has then driven the police car a very short distance and crashed it into the side of the car belonging to the member of the public."

Both vehicles sustained minor damage.

Police say the eight young people knew each other and the girl had been organising them to meet in Taupo.

"This incident was created by a juvenile using social media to engineer a highly risky serious situation," Snr Sgt Jeurissen said.

The eight are being dealt with by police.

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