A MITIAMO man who tried to evade police by attempting to swim across the Murray River into NSW was eventually arrested on Victorian soil on Monday after officers swam after him.
The two Echuca police officers didn't hesitate in their pursuit of the man wanted for numerous firearms and theft offences, diving fully clothed into the chilly river.
Police detected the man behind the wheel of a Toyota Landcruiser around 3.15pm on Monday, November 29, which had been reported stolen from Mitiamo the same day.
Following a road pursuit along sections of the Murray Valley Highway between Torrumbarry to Wharparilla, police used stop sticks to deflate one of the Landcruiser's tyres.
The 35-year-old driver then drove into the Wharparilla Forrest before abandoning the vehicle and swimming about 100 metres across the Murray River.
Officers negotiated with him for about 10 minutes in the water, before he agreed to swim back to shore where he was arrested without further incident.
Detective Sergeant Barry Gray of the Campaspe Crime Investigation Unit said the calmness of the officers led to the arrest.
"These quick-thinking police officers showed no hesitation in jumping into the water to stop this offender," he said. "(But) it wasn't their swimming skills but their calm ability to negotiate with the offender, which ultimately led to his arrest on Victorian soil."
Detective Sergeant Gray said the arrest showed how far officers are prepared to go to protect the community from criminals.
"No two days are the same for a police officer," he said. "This arrest demonstrates how as police, we are always prepared to go above and beyond, and in this case into the murky depths of the Murray River, to protect the community.
"We will stop at nothing, even a soggy uniform, to make sure those who cause harm to the community are brought to justice."
The man was charged with numerous offences including possessing a prohibited weapon, possessing cartridge ammunition, displaying false plates, dangerous driving while pursued by police, failing to stop when directed, reckless conduct, careless driving and criminal damage.
He will also face three charges of theft of a motor vehicle.
The man will appear at Bendigo Magistrate's Court on December 8.
Police are appealing to anyone who was driving along the Murray Valley Highway between Torrumbarry to Wharparilla between 3.15pm and 3:30pm on November 29 who may have witnessed the incident or have Dash Cam footage to contact Echuca Police Station on 5483 1500.
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