Thieves have unwittingly been sending photos they have taken on a stolen camera to its owner.
About 50 photos landed in Coraleigh Parker's dropbox yesterday morning all taken after her new Samsung Galaxy camera disappeared in Tauranga. She instantly posted them on Facebook in a bid to find the thieves.
Her message had been shared more than 30 times after she posted the photos.
"It's so funny. It's almost worth having my camera stolen," she said. "They should win the Stupid Criminal of the Year award."
Miss Parker has not seen her camera since January 4 and believes it was stolen from her car, which was parked on Matai St, while she was running her stall at the Little Big Markets that morning. It was set up to automatically send photos to her online dropbox every time it was connected to a Wi-Fi network, she said.
The 50 photos, one of which features two unidentified men, shows locations and each image is date and time stamped.
There were photos taken at the bus stop near Zespri in Mount Maunganui, opposite the Tauranga Library and by the boats and the wharf, she said.
"They've been on a little bit of an adventure and they've taken photos all along the way," she said.
"They have been taking photos the whole time but they haven't connected to Wi-Fi since then."
Miss Parker said her car was locked when the theft occurred.
"I've actually locked my keys in the car before and it's really easy to break into with a slim jim," she said.
Miss Parker was hopeful she would get the camera back.
"It's half my livelihood. I need it for my business because I need it to take product pictures," she said.
Tauranga Police acting Senior Sergeant Tristan Murray said he had never seen a case where photos were being sent to the owner of a stolen camera.
"Hopefully it can lead to someone being identified."
In January last year the New Zealand police posted a selfie taken on a stolen phone to their Facebook page after the image was emailed back to the owner's dropbox.
The photo collected more than 7200 likes and 2000 comments.
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