The Tauranga Salvation Army's community van is back in action after two of its wheels were stolen on the eve of Christmas deliveries last week.

Offers of help flooded in from far away as Auckland after a Bay of Plenty Times story about the grinch-like theft of the left front and rear wheels.

David Herbert, owner-operator of Herb's Vehicle Repairs, got a call for help from the Salvation Army's Bill Morris last Friday and immediately offered to fit new wheels.

While the Salvation Army's insurance will cover the cost of the wheels, Herbert said he was able get the charity a good deal and help get the van on the road while the claim was processed.


Yesterday the van was back in action sporting the new wheels and delivered goods to those in need.

David Herbert jumped to help Tauranga Salvation Army get the van's wheels back on. Photo / George Novak
David Herbert jumped to help Tauranga Salvation Army get the van's wheels back on. Photo / George Novak

Herbert had a connection with the Sallies that went back some 30 years and appreciated how the organisation helped people in need.

He said he felt annoyed that a car was used to benefit the community had been targeted.

"It's people helping themselves to what people use to help others."

It was not just locals who responded to the call for help - the signal was heard as far away as the big smoke.

Auckland-based Raymond Kho read about the incident online and put his hand up to help cover the repair costs.

After learning the wheels had already been replaced, Kho said he would look at making a donation to the charity instead.

Kho said he felt bad for the charity as it was only attempting to serve the community.


Tauranga Salvation Army spokesman Tom Kopu said the charity welcomed all donations and offers of help.

He said he was "really upset" when he saw the damage, especially as it affected multiple people, from the police who had to deal with the complaint to the people who benefited from the van's services.

"I think it's really neat that people came forward to right other people's bad behaviour."

Police have yet to make any arrests in relation to the theft.