A burglar who broke into a Hamilton home not only stole valuables and a van - they cooked themselves a meal, did the dishes and had a shower.

Sophie, who doesn't want her last name published, and her partner returned home after a weekend away in Auckland to find their van stolen and house ransacked but there was something even more amiss.

"It looked like someone had been staying there."

The burglar, or burglars, had cooked a meal - involving packet macaroni cheese, her flatmate's, and potentially a steak - and had even done their dishes afterwards.

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This woman was captured on CCTV at the Mobil petrol station in Mercer just after 7pm on Sunday. Photo / Supplied
This woman was captured on CCTV at the Mobil petrol station in Mercer just after 7pm on Sunday. Photo / Supplied

They had removed the smoke alarm, and the house stunk of meat, Sophie said.

They had had a shower too, before ransacking the place of various personal items, including the wedding ring of Sophie's late father, and loading them into the van, which has a bed in the back, and taking off.

Sophie said initially she felt sorry for them.

"As I was trying not to get too sour I convinced myself maybe they were having a hard time, just needed something to eat, have a clean-up, and would use the van to live in. They even stole some butter and milk.

"They had opened up bags in our room, gone through them and then put them all back again. They went through a jewellery bag and left behind a locket with a photo of me and my sister, given to me by my dad. It was almost as if they had a conscience - it was really weird."

But then yesterday police phoned to say the van had been found, burned out near Taupō, and Sophie's attitude changed. The worst of it all was the wedding ring.

"My dad passed away when I was young, and Mum had given it to me. That is probably the worst thing. We have got insurance, but those little things you can't replace."

A woman had been spotted on CCTV at Mobil Mercer, south of Auckland, on Sunday just after 7pm, wearing Sophie's ski jacket.

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The woman had used Sophie' stolen eftpos card, using the pay wave function to purchase a Fresh-Up juice.

"That too just seems so strange. She gave herself away right there, all for a juice?"

This woman was captured on CCTV at the Mobil petrol station in Mercer just after 7pm on Sunday. Photo / Supplied
This woman was captured on CCTV at the Mobil petrol station in Mercer just after 7pm on Sunday. Photo / Supplied

Sophie reported the incident to police on Sunday evening after they returned home.

She said they believed it happened on Saturday evening, as the neighbours said the van had been in their driveway all day.

They thought the burglar, or burglars, had scoped the place out, as a rock had been thrown through a window that had not been used, to break in.

"Maybe they did that then came around the next day to see if it had been cleaned up. It has all been really strange."

A police spokesperson said they were aware of the burglary and had spoken to the victim. Investigations are ongoing, they said.