A woman was left shocked after her car - containing irreplaceable family photos - was stolen.

Bronwyn Baillie has appealed to the public for the return of the photographs of her deceased mother, stolen along with her car from the Mount.

"I was really gutted. Really shocked. I kept thinking surely something else has happened, surely it will come back," Ms Baillie said, reflecting on coming back from dinner with a visiting friend to find her car gone.

Her silver 2002 Mazda Familia was parked on a grass verge outside the house where her friend was staying at the Mount, while they went to a restaurant for dinner about two weeks ago. After talking with a neighbour, they whittled the time of theft to between 7.30pm and 8.20pm.


Finding the car missing, Ms Baillie and her friend scoured the neighbouring streets for hours in the dark, desperate to find the car and the photographs.

She reported the theft to police, although no one came to talk to her in person. "They were probably just too busy."

The photos were left in the car as Ms Baillie had just collected them from her father's house and was going to make a photobook for her brother for his birthday. There were no duplicates of the photos.

The loss of the car had been causing her a lot of stress, she said.

"They've got my address, my phone number. They probably know where I live. I've been feeling quite anxious, wondering if they're going to break into the house as well," Ms Baillie said.

She has checked with the toll company in case the thief drove on a toll road.

The Bay of Plenty Times recently reported car thefts in the Western Bay of Plenty increased 27 per cent last year while police were struggling to solve most cases.