It's been a bleak start to the new year for Jeremy Sharp, the owner of Stihl Shop Masterton - but he's had a lucky break.
In less than two minutes, his new black Toyota Hilux was stolen in broad daylight yesterday after he popped into his store to pick something up - enough time for a brazen thief to jump in the ute and take off.
However, through the power of Facebook, it was found later in the day, undamaged, locked and parked on George St, Solway.
Mr Sharp had just returned from a week-long holiday at Riversdale Beach, when he parked his ute on Hope St, turned it off and left the keys inside, around 9am.
"I jumped out of the ute to grab some keys for a post office box and 50 seconds later I walked out and it was gone."
At first he thought his staff had played a prank on him but realising they hadn't, he called the police.
He also appealed for any clues on the Stihl Shop Masterton Facebook page.
His Facebook post was shared by over 200 people.
Mr Sharp said someone had seen his post, spotted the ute parked up and called him.
"It was absolutely awesome," said Mr Sharp.
But the hunting gear inside the ute, including clothing and knives, had been stolen.
However, the thief had left his son's car seat and favourite toy untouched.
He was glad to have the ute back, he said.
The driver appeared to be a young Maori or Pacific Islander with a moustache wearing a green hoody, according to witnesses.
Mr Sharp said his friend had seen the ute going 100km/h down the road and the driver pulling the hood down to cover his face.
The ute, which he had bought eight weeks ago, was worth $54,000.
It was a turnaround in luck for the business owner, who, in July last year, had $15,000 worth of equipment stolen from the Hire Shop in Greytown, which he also owns. Burglars levered the doors off and stole chainsaws and other equipment.
Six years ago his red 2002 Harley-Davidson Fatboy was also stolen and not recovered.
Please call the police on 06 370 0300 if you have any information.