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Winz Launches Fraud Case Against `Bonnie And Clyde' Couple

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Winz Launches Fraud Case Against `Bonnie And Clyde' Couple

Wellington, Feb 4 NZPA - Work and Income is launching a fraud prosecution against a man and woman who allegedly shot at police during a Bonnie and Clyde-style chase in North Otago .

The chase ended in the Otago town of Palmerston two days ago when the couple crashed their stolen vehicle.

The 25-year-old man and 20-year-old woman, who had two toddlers with them at the time, have been charged with multiple offences including using a firearm against police, theft of a motor vehicle and failing to stop.

But the Palmerston North couple received Work and Income assistance when they were first arrested days earlier in Christchurch for breaking into cars.

Work and Income boss Patricia Reade today said after the Christchurch arrest the couple were bailed to their North Island home and were given welfare assistance to return home.

Ms Reade said after confirming their court date, Work and Income provided a recoverable advance -- effectively a loan against their benefit -- in the form of vouchers for ferry travel for the couple and their vehicle, a night's accommodation and petrol.

But the couple's return home ran off the rails in Picton where they rented an apartment for the night from Greg Shackel and then allegedly stole his Landrover the next day, heading south for Hanmer where they are accused of buying $3000 worth of outdoor equipment with doubtful cheques.

They then headed to Ashburton where they allegedly stole several guns before being confronted and chased by police.

Mr Shackel last night said on TV3 he was appalled the couple's stay at his apartment was paid for by taxpayers through Work and Income.

But Ms Reade said the advance was made in good faith to enable the couple to meet their bail conditions.

"They clearly did not do this. We are pursuing a fraud case against them."

The pair were yesterday remanded in custody for two weeks after they appeared in Oamaru District Court.

The two toddlers have been placed in the care of Child Youth and Family.

Detective Sergeant Mike Ryder yesterday said other charges could yet be laid in relation to the police chase and the couple's behaviour in the days leading up to it.

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