A group of young European women were shocked to return from a Mission Bay ice cream run to find their parked van had been broken into in broad daylight -- but are delighted by the help they received from Good Samaritans on Anzac Day.
German au pair Linda Rochlitzer, 19, and three friends, had returned on Monday from a holiday in the Far North, when they decided to stop off at the popular Auckland beach to get an ice cream about 1.30pm.
But when the trio returned, they discovered their Jucy rental van, which was parked on Tamaki Drive between Mission Bay and Okahu Bay, had been broken into.
All their bags containing their clothes and belongings -- including a passport, an iPad, a Samsung tablet and a personal diary -- had been taken.
"We found a note on the car from someone who had seen it happen. They left their number and had taken a photo of the getaway car, so we got the licence plate," Ms Rochlitzer, who works in New Lynn, said.
The people had reported the theft, by two young men who fled in a white car, to police.
An off-duty police officer stopped and helped the women report their stolen items, and other passersby stopped to offer their assistance.
"It was really scary -- I feel so safe in New Zealand, then this happened," Ms Rochlitzer said.
But she said despite this, she's had an amazing time in New Zealand since her arrival on February 16, with Kiwis always being friendly and willing to help -- even if they just saw her looking at a map.
"Several people stopped and asked us if we needed help [on Monday].
"In Europe, that wouldn't happen. People would just look at you and think 'that's strange'."
She said the rental company had even waived the insurance administration fee which they usually charged when cars were damaged.
A police spokesman said the car used in the theft, a white Subaru Impreza hatchback, had been stolen earlier that day and was recovered that evening in Mt Wellington with the engine running.
He was unsure if the women's gear had been recovered or if the car had been returned to its owner.