Police have recovered several items stolen from a rower competing at the World Rowing Championships, and returned them to him only moments before he left New Zealand last night.

Sergeant Dale Smith said a member of the United States rowing team, who were competing at the competition on Lake Karapiro over the past week, had been burgled on Saturday.

"Management of the hotel where the team were staying were able to give us vital, timely information relating to the identity of those responsible that led us to a Garnett Ave address," Mr Smith said.

"When interviewed, a 14-year-old boy admitted involvement in the burglary which was followed by confessions from his 17 and 15-year-old brothers."

An iPod was recovered at the address and police were told other property was at an Otorohanga address.

"Contact was made with a man in Otorohanga who admitted receiving a laptop, it was explained the significance of the theft and the damage to this country's reputation and he agreed to bring it into the Hamilton Police Station.

"From there an aunty of the offenders helped police recover the victim's camera, the US team left Hamilton about 6pm for an 11pm flight and we needed to get all the property recovered, documented and back to the victim. Time was against us and there'd be no 'B' final if we didn't make it."

Mr Smith said all the missing items were able to be returned to the American rower by 9.15pm.

"He was really ecstatic to get all his property back and overwhelmed by the New Zealand police's response from the initial service desk response through to the inquiry teams responsible for the recovery and return of his gear.

"It would be fair to say that while the rest of the country is celebrating the achievements of our teams on the water, the team in blue delivered a gold medal performance as well in terms of New Zealand's reputation of a safe, friendly place to visit."

Two boys aged 14 and 15-years-old have been referred to Youth Aid while a 17-year-old man will appear in the Hamilton District Court on Friday charged with burglary while another man will appear on the same day facing a charge of receiving.

- NZHERALD STAFF