A brazen 16-year-old allegedly stole a truck from an Auckland depot, and picked up two German hitchhikers during a joyride to Whangarei.
Mainfreight managing director Don Braid the truck was stolen yesterday afternoon from the firm's Otahuhu depot.
"It was opportunist. The truck was in our secure yard and the individual walked down the road, [and] walked in. The driver had left the keys in the vehicle when he went to the toilet and the guy jumped in the truck and drove away in it," he said.
"It's pretty hard not to get noticed by the rest of the team and one of our ladies had her husband coming back from Whangarei and he spotted the truck on the way north."
The brazen thief reportedly picked up two female German hitchhikers at a petrol station during his joyride north.
Two Linfox drivers also tailed the stolen 620 Scania, with personalised number plate 'STUEEZ' as it made its way north.
The thief must have driven a truck before, as given the complexity of truck's gearboxes, not just anyone could jump in and drive away, Mr Braid said.
"Clearly he understood what was going on, so he's obviously driven a truck before."
Police later apprehended a teenager south of Whangarei and the truck was later returned unscathed, Mr Braid said.
"We've got pretty strong security here as it is, but it's a working transport facility and we're well off the road so I don't know whether he had been staking us out or what, but we'll certainly be reviewing that.
"I mean, the driver won't be leaving his keys in his truck when he goes to relieve himself next time."
Northland police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett said a 16-year-old was charged with burglary and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle and is due to appear in the Whangarei Youth Court on April 10.