NZ 'Hole-in-the-wall' gang leader Simon Allan Kerr's two-year run over

Updated: 27 Aug 2011
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One of Auckland's most notorious criminals has been recaptured after two years on the run.

Simon Allan Kerr gained notoriety around 20 years ago as the leader of a group of safecrackers known as the "hole-in-the-wall" gang. They escaped with thousands of dollars in jewellery and cash in a year-long crime spree.

In one spectacular raid, a 1630 kilogram safe was pulled through the walls of Mt Eden's BNZ branch and $30,000 was taken.

Kerr, 50, was arrested in Pukehina, south of Tauranga, last night. He appeared in the Tauranga District Court this morning facing one charge of attempted burglary and seven burglary charges of commercial premises involving about $200,000 worth of goods.

He was remanded in custody and will appear in the Whangarei District Court next Tuesday.
SIMON ALLAN KERR: Arrested after two years on the run.
A Northland police spokeswoman said Kerr had tried to flee the arresting officers but police had the address surrounded.
Kerr had then given himself up without incident, she said.  
The tip-off was understood to have come from a member of the public though there were no further details available.

Kerr is heavily tattooed on his arms and legs and has tattoos of bats on each side of his neck.

Members of the hole-in-the-wall gang gained their name from the destructive methods they used to rip out safes and bank automatic teller machines in a nationwide rampage about 20 years ago.

He went on the run in December 2009. Whangarei police issued a warrant for his arrest after a Whangarei appliance store was robbed.

Thousands of dollars of electrical equipment was stolen from the Noel Leeming store in the Okara shopping centre in the overnight raid.

Kerr was on parole at the time of the robbery, police said.

Kerr hit the headlines in August 1994, when he camped out on a Mt Eden prison turret for 12 days, in protest of conditions in the remand wing.

He escaped from custody four times, including once from Mt Eden, in 1990. 
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