A company chief executive who parked his Audi Q5 at the Pullman Hotel before he left for Australia last February believes fraudsters have used an "elaborate scam" to steal the vehicle.
Timothy Bolot, chairman and CEO of Best Telecom Group, is in Australia and received a text last Tuesday from the NZ Transport Agency stating he was no longer the registered person for the 2010 Audi.
He immediately called the Pullman only to be told the car was no longer there, and the hotel's CCTV footage showed the vehicle had been towed by a towing company on January 10.
The company told Bolot the vehicle had been towed at the request of State/IAG Insurance to an address in Mangere, where a person had taken up a roadside assistance policy and said they'd lost their keys.
The ownership of the Audi has been transferred on January 25 to another person.
Bolot has made a public post on Facebook about the matter and is offering a $500 reward for information which could lead to recovery of the car that he paid $35,000 for.
"It appeared that someone has said that they lost the keys to 'their' car and arranged for the vehicle to be towed to an address in Mangere," he said.
"Somehow they have also managed to get the ownership transferred to someone else."
Bolot said he was concerned about the whereabouts of the vehicle, and believes it may even be possible the vehicle had been on-sold to "an innocent party".
"We have lots of important records, hundreds of documents of a commercially sensitive nature, as well as personal effects that we need to retrieve as soon as possible."
Bolot said he bought the vehicle in May 2018 and had it registered under his company's name. It was changed to a co-director's name last year so the registration could be paused because of Covid-19.
"The vehicle is my regular drive and I've not been able to access the car since March due to my inability to re-enter New Zealand as a result of Covid-19."
Bolot said he was amazed at how the insurance company had not verified the bona-fides of those who had requested for the vehicle to be towed.
"Wilson Parking who owns the carpark at Pullman let them out as they were just doing their job and the hotel were not asked about the car," he said.
"It's just unbelievable."
When approached by the Herald, an IAG spokeswoman said: "As this matter is now under investigation by IAG and the police, we are unable to comment further at this time."
A police spokeswoman confirmed police received a report on January 27 about a vehicle that had allegedly been stolen, and are making inquiries.