Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Paramedic targeted in call-out gets items back

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A Wellington paramedic whose treasured possessions were stolen while she attended a medical emergency has been reunited with some of the items after they were found by members of the public.

Wellington Free Ambulance team manager operations Helen Berry had her handbag stolen from a rapid response car while she responded to a call-out in Paekakariki about 11.30pm on Wednesday.

The bag contained important mementos from her uncle's recent funeral in Australia, including a letter from her aunt to Ms Berry's mother, as well as her passport, an iPad and a $600 gift from family members to help cover the cost of flights to the funeral.

The bag was handed in to Kapiti police but its contents were missing.

However, some of the contents have now been returned to Ms Berry after they were found in a Paekakariki park by a woman and some children.

"I'm really, really grateful and relieved. I've got back all the precious items from my uncle's recent funeral - that's the main thing - and my house and car keys,'' she said.

"The memorabilia from the funeral was very important to my mother whose brother passed away. My mother couldn't travel to the funeral so it's wonderful that she has these final mementos of her brother.''

Ms Berry said the woman and children had found her phone number in her notebook and called her.

"I can't thank them enough.''

The items had been in Ms Berry's bag because she had only been back at work for two days and not had time to remove them.

"Luckily, I had taken all the medical gear into the house, otherwise that might have gone as well.''

Ms Berry said Kapiti police had been handed some other items - but the iPad and a heirloom bracelet were still missing, and she was ``really gutted'' about the money.

"My family pitched in to help me with the travel expenses for the funeral because I had to go at short notice. They made a special effort to help and this is how it turns out.''

Wellington Free Ambulance chief executive Diana Crossan yesterday said she found it hard to believe anyone would stoop so low as to steal important personal possessions.

Anyone with information was asked to contact police.

- APNZ

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