Good guy helps tourists but has his car rammed

By Kristin Edge

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A Northland man who helped two foreign tourists when their campervan was broken into and their personal belongings stolen is out of pocket after his car was rammed by the fleeing suspect.

The good Samaritan, who does not want to be named , said he was "Johnny on the spot" when a man allegedly smashed his way into a campervan parked at Uretiti Beach on Tuesday about 3pm.

He had been in his parked car waiting for the tide to drop so he could collect tuatua when a man also parked up.

Moments later two women, from Ireland and Australia, had parked and locked their van and went down to the beach.

"The guy scoped them out, saw where they went. The next thing I heard smashing glass and looked over to see he had smashed through a side window. He took a backpack which ended up having all the girls' personal stuff like passports, money, credit cards, cash and clothing," he recalled.

The witness noted the car registration number and parked further down the road where he got a woman in the Department of Conservation (DoC) campground office to phone police.

As the man believed to have broken into the campervan drove past, the back of the good Samaritan's car was rammed.

"That car is my pride and joy. I've only had it for two weeks but had to work about three years to get it," he said. "I'm a sickness beneficiary with a bad back and can only afford third-party insurance ... I simply can't afford to repair the damage."


He reckons the damaged bumper will have to be replaced and work on the rear panel would cost about $1000- money he doesn't have.

Thanks to the information he gave, police officers searched a house in the Ruakaka area and found not only the tourists' belongings but other stolen property.

But the stranger's kindness went further. On Wednesday he travelled to Mangawhai with the two backpackers to help them get the van window repaired.

"They didn't know where to go so I helped them out. They are lovely girls and one of them is only here for nine days and one day was wasted with this. My heart broke for those two girls. At the time they were distraught so it's good to hear they got everything back." The tourists were yesterday headed for the Bay of Islands.

Ruakaka police Constable Anthony Rogers praised the man's efforts in helping police find the girls' property and other items from other alleged break-ins. Police were unable to confirm if any of the retrieved items belonged to the victims of a recent Town Basin theft from tourists.

Mr Rogers said a 42-year-old man appeared in the Whangarei District Court on Wednesday charged with burglary. Bail was opposed and he was remanded in custody to re-appear on November 7. Police say more charges are likely.

- Northern Advocate

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