A man has been charged in connection with stealing a car with a child inside in Rotorua.

Police said a 30-year-old man has been charged with unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, and abandonment of a child under six in relation to the incident.

The man has also been charged with robbery in relation to an earlier incident where a woman was allegedly forced to the ground and robbed in front of her children after withdrawing cash from an ATM at the Rotorua Central Mall.

Six days later on April 24, a car with a 2-year-old child was allegedly stolen from outside a dairy on the corner of Pererika Street and Old Taupo Rd.

It was later found by police with the child still in the vehicle, safe and well.


The man is in custody and will appear in the Rotorua District Court tomorrow.

A young couple found the toddler crying in an abandoned car more than two hours after it was driven off with the child inside.

"I got just past the car when I heard crying so I went back to have a look," Amber Hassan told the Herald at the time.

Police were called at 4.46pm to reports that a vehicle had been stolen with a young boy inside, on the corner of Pererika St and Old Taupo Rd in Rotorua.

Locals Hassan and her partner Charles Adams had headed out for a walk and saw a car with the windows down on the pavement next to the Latter Day Saints church just after 7pm.

The boy's distraught relative took to Facebook to plead for help tracking down the young boy.

The man posted about the incident on Rotorua Buy Sell Swap and Deals, offering a reward to whoever could bring the boy back that night.