The owner of the Jeep that was allegedly stolen by wanted couple Tamzen Bush and Brandon Wong writes that it was ordinary Kiwis, and not the Police, that led to the two being apprehended.
He retells a remarkable story of how his partner’s seven year-old daughter tipped them off to a break-in and theft, how Facebook helped the North Island community to get behind their hunt for their Jeep, and how a motorcycle gang helped apprehend and hold the wanted couple until Police arrived.
This is his true account.
The True Story Behind the Arrest of Wanted Couple Tamzen Bush and Brandon Wong
I was awake late watching tv until about 2-3am Monday morning then turned the tv off and fell asleep.
My partner’s daughter woke us about 4am wanting to play on her tablet and was sent back to bed. Then about 5am she come back asking again. My partner told her where it was in the lounge on charge. When she came back saying it was not there we new there was something up.
We got up to have a look and found the tablet gone and our wallets and keys for both cars where also missing. We then rang the police to report the break in.
I then immediately started to work out where the Jeep could be heading as we had a pretty good idea of when the break in happened.
My partner was uploading photos of the vehicle to Facebook with a $1000 reward for it to be stopped and returned undamaged. While she was doing this, I had worked out how much fuel it had, and, to where they needed to get fuel.
We ruled it out going through Opotiki with the service stations CCTV footage of the believed times it was taken. I then moved onto the Whakatane service stations CCTV footage.
By about 9:45am we had the screen shots of the female’s face driving it and getting fuel. Those mug shots went straight up [on Facebook] with the reward posts.
My mate then started another post with the mug shots and jeep we were chasing. We were getting tip offs about who the driver was by a number of different sources (A couple were wrong).
By midday my mates post had a Photo of the Jeep asking to confirm it was the correct vehicle. By the time he had sent me the photos to confirm the identification, the guys, which were members of a patched motor bike gang (Great job guys), we were on the phone to my mate saying they have just car-jammed the plates on the Jeep and that they were the wrong plates for that vehicle.
Then they asked what do we wanted to do. Did we want them to take possession of the Jeep in McDonald’s car park in Paeroa?
We confirmed. If you can get them out without getting injured do it. By this time I was in the Whakatane police station getting them to contact the Paeroa police station as there was about to be a confrontation in the McD’s carpark.
The Guys got the keys to the jeep and held the two occupants until police arrived. The rest is history. These three guys did an awesome job. The Jeep was not damaged and I paid them their $1000 reward.
That’s the real story.
The Police’s Stement: Tuesday, 29 September 2015 – 7:50am.
Wanted couple Tamzen Bush and Brandon Wong have been arrested in Paeroa.
At around 1pm yesterday afternoon, a member of the public called Police about suspicious behaviour in a carpark. On arrival Police found the couple in a silver Jeep Cherokee that had allegedly been stolen from an Ohope address the night before.
The couple are alleged to have given attending officers false names, but officers quickly established that it was Bush and Wong and they were arrested without incident.
Officers from Waitemata Police have travelled down to Hamilton this morning to interview the pair.
At this stage it is anticipated that they will appear in the Hamilton District Court this afternoon on a series of charges. A media release detailing those charges is expected to be done around lunchtime.