An Auckland man whose wife was killed in a house fire has been dealt a double blow after a series of alleged thefts from his now vacant property.
Pieter Kaan is disgusted after the alleged attempted theft, and theft, of property, including two cars, from his abandoned Helensville home after the fire that took the life of his wife, Joy. A ride-on mower has also disappeared from the property.
"I am disgusted and appalled that someone would steal from someone else," Kaan told the Herald on Sunday.
"I don't understand how someone could take something from someone else that they have worked so hard to get. The mower is one of the few things I have left after the fire. I just want it back."
He said it was in stark contrast to how their family had been treated by the rest of the community. "We are very grateful for their kindness."
The August 10 house fire was described by the family as the most horrific day of their lives.
A dehumidifier is believed to have caught fire in the middle of the night.
The couple were woken by the flames and called emergency services but Joy, a grandmother and mother of three, did not make it out.
On Monday, 22-year-old local man Luke McMahon, a bricklayer, appeared in the Waitakere District Court after allegations he was spotted at the property with a tow truck, allegedly trying to remove two cars.
A neighbour called police.
McMahon faces four charges, including one of deceptively obtaining control over property, two charges of dishonestly taking two cars, and being in an enclosed yard.
He was remanded on bail without plea and will reappear in court in January.
It's one of several incidents across the country where people have allegedly stolen from the sick, dying or vulnerable. In October a 24-year-old man was arrested and charged with robbing Waihi man Henry Pere of his wallet as Pere suffered a fatal aneurysm in public.
In November a woman injured in a serious car accident was allegedly robbed by a man who stole her wallet and phone from inside the car.