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Armed man leaves residents shaken

Published: 11:17AM Sunday February 10, 2013 Source: ONE News

Police have arrested a 19-year-old Taumarunui local over a string of alleged offences which saw parts of the central North Island town closed off this morning.

He is suspected of committing a number of serious offences in various parts of the small town near Lake Taupo, including discharging a firearm in an unsafe manner.

Taumarunui resident Rod Dickenson opened his door to a man asking to use the phone and described him as polite and well dressed.

But things went wrong when a neighbour called warning him of a dangerous person about.

"He had a knife up to my throat and said 'if you don't put the phone down I will slit your throat'," Dickenson said.

Another resident saw the man trying to break into a car when he turned around and verbally abused the resident.

The man then allegedly stole a car in a driveway before returning to the area about 20 minutes later.

ONE News understands the first vehicle was stolen at gunpoint south of Taumarunui and already had two hunting rifles in it.

Armed Offenders Squad members were flown in from Hamilton and Wanganui to assist and the gunman was arrested shortly before midday.

There were also reports of shots being fired in Taumarunui.

Inspector Steve Mastrovich said police had been alerted to the man's behaviour at around 8am.

"This is an ongoing investigation and we are conducting an area canvas to determine the sequence of events that have taken place. At this stage we are looking at six scene examinations in a variety of locations," Mastrovich said.

Police say the man is known to them and has been involved in other incidents where he has shown little regard for others' safety.

He will appear before the Taumarunui District Court tomorrow.