A Tauranga woman - who volunteers as a firefighter - has been left stranded after her car was stolen and found a few streets down from her home with the engine still running.

Damage to the vehicle means it will need to be replaced.

It is one of about seven calls police received of attempted car thefts in Welcome Bay within 48 hours on November 7 and 8.

Michaela McIlroy last saw her 1998 Nissan Pulsar when she parked it on Victory St outside her home at about 8.30pm on Wednesday.


The 21-year-old settled in for the evening and fell asleep before she was woken up at 5.45am by a call from Tauranga police.

"They told me my car had been stolen," she said. "I was in a bit of disbelief until I walked outside and sure enough my car was gone."

McIlroy had just moved back to Tauranga a couple of weeks ago and had started a transfer to the Tauranga Fire Brigade as a volunteer firefighter.

She was insured but, until she got a new car, McIlroy was having to rely on her sister to driver her around and could not be on call.

McIlroy said the police had been able to turn the car off with a screwdriver and back on for her to be able to drive it back home.

"The car had been running for about two hours," she said. "The police told me that I was lucky my car didn't engulf in flames."

McIlroy said it appeared the thieves had smashed the back corner window, removed her firefighter's helmet and put it into the boot.

"When I grabbed that out of the boot it was completely smothered in glass," she said.


She said she had other valuables inside the boot, including her snow gear, which were not stolen.

A police media spokeswoman said police received information about a car that was found on Meander Dr with the engine still running on Thursday morning.

The spokeswoman said the car was later found to have been stolen from Victory St overnight on Wednesday.

"A forensic examination of the vehicle was completed and it was returned to the registered owner," she said.

Police received about six reports in the same Welcome Bay area surrounding Selwyn Ridge Primary School, which included attempted car thefts and items stolen from vehicles.

The six reports were made to police on November 7 and 8.

There had been about one or two reports of cars being broken into in Welcome Bay in the past month.

Police had no lines of inquiry at this stage and were still investigating.

• Do not to leave valuables in vehicles, ensure they are locked, and park in well-lit areas where possible
• Limit any chance for opportunistic thieves to attempt to access your vehicle
• Police strongly encourage anyone who sees anyone behaving suspiciously around vehicles to call Police as soon as you can, with as much detail as possible
• If you are the victim of car crime, please let police know, to help form a more accurate picture of what's happening in our communities