It's not often you'll hear of a happy ending after having your car stolen.

But that was the case for one Canadian woman when her car was stolen, only for it to be returned by the alleged thief with a full tank of petrol.

On December 9 a Nova Scotia woman called police to report her car had been stolen from a parking lot.

According to the owner, she parked next an identical vehicle she was driving.

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But when she returned from her shopping trip her car was gone.

As it turns out, the "thief" who took her car did so by mistake - his key somehow managing to open the door on the vehicle.

Once the "thief" realised he had taken the woman's car instead of his own, he drove to the petrol station and filled up the petrol tank before returning the car.

Police said woman even reimbursed the "thief" for the petrol.

"Although it doesn't appear either vehicle was left running, it serves as a reminder that vehicle thefts do occur during the winter months when vehicles are left running and unattended," Canadian police said in a release Monday.

Halifax police spokesperson Cpl Dal Hutchinson told the Toronto Star that such situations are rare, but also admitted he's mistaken a car for his own before.

"I jumped in, turned quickly and looked—and the woman sitting in the passenger side wasn't my wife. My wife was in the next vehicle watching this, laughing," Hutchinson said.

The incident has been described as the most Canadian car-thief story of all time.

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