Catherine Gaffaney is a general reporter based in Auckland.

Auckland mother pleas for thief to return phone with photos on it

Melissa, Gary and five-month-old Oscar Taylor. Photo / supplied
Melissa, Gary and five-month-old Oscar Taylor. Photo / supplied

An Auckland mother whose iPhone 6, debit card and keys were stolen during a club rugby match is holding out for her phone to be returned -- with almost all the photos she has of the past three months of her newborn son's life.

Melissa Taylor, of Beach Haven, was watching her husband's pre-season club rugby match at the Northcote Rugby Club grounds on Friday night when the items were taken.

Her debit card was used for a $170 purchase at Liquor People in Birkenhead.

She believed the items were sitting next to her in the grandstand or on top of the pram of her five-month-old, Oscar.

"I was shocked when I realised they had been taken because there were so many people around," she told the Herald.


"There's a footpath directly behind the grandstand so I think someone walked along the footpath and grabbed them from behind.

"I put Oscar in the pram next to me to sleep for some of the game. It's a scary thought that they could have been taken from the top of the pram while he was sleeping."

Mrs Taylor's husband broke into their vehicle with a coathanger so they could get their carseat out.

"We were worried we were going to be stranded because obviously, we couldn't get Oscar home without the carseat.

"We spent quite a bit of time looking for my things so he was well and truly ready to go home by the time we got the carseat."

Mrs Taylor didn't initially realise her debit card had been with her cellphone.

"I woke up at 3am and realised it had been in the phone wallet. I called the bank and they said it had already been used.

"I was shocked. I looked up my account and saw that there had been a $170 purchase at a liquor store in Birkenhead."

Manager of Liquor People in Birkenhead Nani Cai said a man came into the store about 10pm on Friday night and used the card to buy three bottles of spirits.

"He tried to use paywave at first but the purchase was too much. The signature didn't look quite right the first time he did it so I got him to do it again. The second time it looked right.

"I felt so terrible when Mr Taylor came to the store and we worked out what had happened."

Mrs Taylor's mother posted about the incident on Facebook last night. The post has been shared more than 1400 times.

"I'm humbled that so many people have shared the post," Mrs Taylor said.

"The card's been blocked now and I have insurance. I just really want the photos back.

"My husband has some photos of Oscar on his phone but I'm the one who's at home with him all day so I have lots of pictures."

A police spokeswoman said the North Shore Investigation Unit was looking into the case.

No one had been arrested yet and inquiries were ongoing.

• Anyone with information is asked to contact the North Shore Police on 09 477 5000.

- NZ Herald

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