A woman wanted for snatching a $5000 ring from a Napier jewellery store this week was last night in custody after a police chase that ended with her crashing a car taken from a salesperson during a test drive.
Police confirmed that a 24-year-old woman in the crash, between Napier and Meeanee just after 2pm yesterday, was the same person wanted for the ring theft at Michael Hill Jeweller in Napier on Tuesday.
She now faces charges of theft, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, reckless driving and failing to stop for police.
Yesterday's crash happened on a bend on the outskirts of southern Napier.
The car theft was reported less than half an hour earlier by a startled Hawke's Bay Toyota staff member.
They had been left at the roadside about 15km away, near Hawke's Bay Airport, when a prospective buyer leapt into the car and drove off.
It was seen in traffic near central Napier soon afterwards and crashed a few minutes later after racing out of the urban area while being chased by police.
Sergeant Ray Wylie said the driver refused to stop and the car went up a bank, hit a fence and flipped, coming to rest upside down.
The woman was was uninjured and was arrested at the scene.
A spokesman for Hawke's Bay Toyota said a woman entered the Napier branch earlier in the afternoon inquiring about a vehicle on the sales lot.
As she did not have an appropriate licence, she was not allowed to drive the car but accompanied a staff member on a test drive, he said.
It was while they were parked at the side of State Highway 2 and inspecting the vehicle from the outside that the woman got back into the car and drove away.