Theft victim urges vigilance

A woman says her wallet and other items were stolen from her car in a brazen theft outside the former ASB Bank branch opposite Kmart Botany. Times photo Wayne Martin

An east Auckland woman is urging the public to be vigilant after a thief grabbed items from her car before fleeing in a suspected stolen vehicle.

The woman, who does not want to be identified, says she went to Kmart Botany to buy some leggings at about 5.20pm on May 18.

She was in the store for about five minutes.

“I exited the shop carrying my shopping and made my way back to the car, which was parked outside the new chicken restaurant opposite Kmart Botany.

“I put my seatbelt on and started to reverse when a silver late-model sedan was directly blocking my car from exiting the car park.”

The woman says the vehicle blocking hers in appeared to be a Honda Accord.

She says a man she estimates was aged 20-30 years old then appeared at her front passenger car window.

“He ripped open my door and started going through all my shopping on the front seat.

“I think he was probably looking for a handbag, laptop, and phone.

“He then grabbed my wallet and pair of $7 leggings and ran back to the waiting silver car, jumped in the passenger side and drove off.”

The woman says the occupants of the vehicle then unsuccessfully tried to get petrol at the nearby BP service station on Chapel Road before heading toward Howick.

She says the thieves stole from her $20 cash, the pair of leggings she’d just purchased, and numerous credit cards that she’s had to cancel.

“I’m a nurse and having worked for 20 years in local hospitals caring for people, and have travelled the world, only to be robbed a couple of kilometres from my home while in my own car is disgusting.

“These people who are robbing us are semi-professional, using stolen cars, switched [car rego] plates and are targeting single women who are alone and have their arms full of shopping.”

She says her friends have told her about being followed while out walking their dogs.

“I would recommend women be careful with their handbags, phones, and wallets and always lock their car when returning to their vehicle.”

Counties Manukau East Police senior sergeant Peter Kaveney says police received a report of a theft from a vehicle at a Botany car park at about 5.45pm on May 18.

“A man reportedly approached the victim and her vehicle, taking personal items before fleeing the area in a waiting vehicle.

“Police attended the area after the report was made and are making further enquiries, including checking for any CCTV footage.

“Anyone who witnessed the incident and can assist our enquiries can phone police on 105 quoting the reference number P046549250.”

Alternatively, people with information on the alleged theft can phone the free and anonymous Crimestoppers tip-off line on 0800 555 111.