Teens’ hijinks prompt police into operation
Three 17-year-old Cromwell girls sparked an hour-long police hunt across Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes districts last week after they were spotted leaving a store wearing balaclavas.
A concerned member of the public alerted police after believing the girls were males robbing the store and seven patrol cars were called in.
Sergeant Keith Newell, of Queenstown, said two of the girls had walked out of the Cromwell store sporting balaclavas, while another, embarrassed by the pair, had put her jacket over her head.
Police from Queenstown, Wanaka, Cromwell and Alexandra were called to assist in finding the lookalike robbers and several cordons were set up.
The vehicle they were in was located on SH6 near the Crown Range turnoff where police found three surprised teenagers.
Newell said there had been nothing sinister in the girls "hijinks" behaviour.
"I don’t think they thought about the consequences of what they’d done."
Despite the callout being a false alarm, it had been a good training exercise for police.
"They kept us on our toes," Newell said.