Family find positive in theft

By Katee Shanks

1 comment
Ryan Topperwien with the returned goods. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Ryan Topperwien with the returned goods. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

There's not a lot of negatives, even though gifts and golf balls were stolen from charity fundraisers Keri and Ryan Topperwien's Dream Chaser car on Saturday night.

The Topperwiens wanted to share their story to highlight the positives.

On Saturday evening the Topperwiens returned to Whakatane following a speaking engagement at the Indigenous Nurses Conference 2016.

"It was quite late and we knew our home would be cold as the fire was not going," Mrs Topperwien said. "Instead we went to spend the night at the home of family."

Inside the Dream Chaser car were more than 100 LED golf balls intended for the next instalment of the Dream Chaser's Par After Dark Tournaments, and a raft of presents donated by a Hamilton whanau.

"There's a young girl and her whanau in Hamilton we [Dream Chaser] have been supporting and who we are close to," Mrs Topperwien said. "The young girl is feeling a bit better and, as a thank you, donated gifts to the Foundation that could be distributed to children dealing with cancer.

"So to lose all of the gifts and the balls was a real blow."

After discovering the theft Keri posted about it and the missing items on social media.

"I put it on my personal Facebook page and then shared it on the Dream Chaser page. From there it was shared over and over."

Later that day, and when the Topperwiens had returned to their own home, a person housesitting at the address where the car had been parked when broken into, heard a noise outside.

When he went out to investigate he found all of the stolen goods on the doorstep.
"We got everything back," Mrs Topperwien said. "Over $1000 worth of property including some personal items we hadn't even realised were missing."

"This really highlights the power of social media.

"The smiles we had envisioned from the little recipients of the presents are back in our minds. Whatever the situation was, thank you very much for returning these items. It is much appreciated by us, by those who support our charity and help us to do cool stuff for brave kiwi kids."

Mrs Topperwien said it had also been humbling to receive so many offers to replace the items.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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