Heavyweight boxer David Nyika is appealing for those responsible for stealing his Commonwealth Games gold medal from his car in Hamilton a fortnight ago to return it – "no questions asked".
Nyika told the Herald he had run through a few emotions since discovering the loss of his medal – won recently at the Gold Coast after he beat Australian Jason Whateley in the final.
He was first shocked, then embarrassed and now disappointed. Nyika said he had the medal in his car because he was often showing to family and friends and children on visits to schools.
The 22-year-old discovered the loss shortly before visiting a school. "The school had a 'dress as your hero' day. Some dressed up as Ironman from the Avengers and so on, but there was one kid who dressed up as me, which was pretty cool," Nyika said.
Nyika said the police had been extremely helpful and were pursuing "positive leads" so he is hopeful of getting it back. Four years ago Nyika won gold as a light heavyweight at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Detective Sergeant Paul Slater of Hamilton Tactical Crime Unit said Nyika was in Auckland when he noticed his medal, as well as vouchers, had been stolen from his car. He reported it to police on April 29.
Detective Sergeant Slater said police were reviewing CCTV footage at a number of locations in Auckland.
"We want to speak to anyone who has information or was in the area at the time," he said.
"We also want to speak to the people pictured as we believe they can help us with our enquiries.
"Obviously a Commonwealth Games medal is very distinctive and of high sentimental value to the victim and his family. Our priority is to return this medal to its rightful owner.
"We believe someone will know where it is or who these people are in these photos so we can speak to them."
The images attached are from a retail store in Onehunga, Auckland.
"I was a bit embarrassed at first," Nyika said. "But I have talked to a lot of people and they've said 'no one has the right to go through your belongings or break into your car," he said. "If anyone knows anything about it I would ask them to please contact the police.
"It's not valuable to anyone else – no one is going to melt it down. It's disappointing and a bit of a shame, but hopefully I'll get it back."
Nyika said he had gone on holiday in Australia following the Commonwealth Games and his medal win was "still pretty fresh", which was why he had stored it in his car.
Nyika is considering turning professional and recently met with Joseph Parker's trainer Kevin Barry.
If anyone has information they can contact Detective Sergeant Paul Slater on (07) 858 6200.
Anyone who wishes to remain anonymous can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.