Search continues for gang member who escaped after family violence jail sentence

News from NZ Police
Police are continuing to hunt for convicted offender Mana Tangitutu who escaped from custody in Whakatane last week after being given a four month prison sentence for family violence.

Since his escape Police have executed a number of search warrants in Kawerau and Opotiki to try to locate Tangitutu. Police in other Districts are making similar active enquiries.

Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Standen said: “Mana Tangitutu has a very distinctive appearance. It is our belief that someone must be assisting him and I need to make it very clear that we will look to prosecute anyone who is found to be helping him to evade capture.”

Mana Justin Tangitutu is 27-years-old, Maori, approximately 180cms tall. He has gang affiliations and has a distinctive full facial tattoo featuring three ‘M’s on his forehead and East Coast Mongrel across his nose and upper lip. He has links to the Gisborne area, Whakatane, Tauranga and the North Shore.

The public are reminded not to approach Tangitutu but to report any sightings immediately via the 111 system. Anyone else who has knowledge of where he is should contact the Police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

News from NZ Police – October 3
A man escaped from court in Whakatane this afternoon after being sentenced to four months in prison for a family violence assault on a woman.

After being sentenced in the Whakatane District Court, Mana Justin Tangitutu, aged 27, was placed in a court cell by police officers on court escort duty. While the officers then dealt with another prisoner, Tangitutu escaped from the cell and managed to leave the court building. The escape was discovered a few minutes later, at approximately 5.15pm. Cordons were put in place around Whakatane until 7pm and various area enquiries and searches were carried out. The victim of Tangitutu’s assault was also contacted immediately and arrangements made to ensure her safety.

Area Commander for Eastern Bay of Plenty Police, Inspector Sandra Venables said: “There will be a full investigation into how Mr Tangitutu was able to leave the cell and court building and a review of court escort processes, but our priority at this stage is locating him. I appeal to anyone who sees him or knows of his location to contact us immediately. It is of course possible that he will seek refuge with family or friends and I need to make it clear that anyone found to be assisting him in evading Police could also face prosecution.”

Mana Tangitutu is described as a male Maori, approximately 180cms tall. He has gang affiliations and has a distinctive full facial tattoo with the word ‘Mongrel’ above his upper lip. He has links to the Gisborne area, Whakatane, Tauranga and the North Shore. Today’s conviction was for violence and he is known to carry weapons so he should not under any circumstances be approached.

 

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