Don’t ever think it will never happen to you!

At 7.30pm on Friday 2nd January I was going back to my car in Westgate Shopping Centre after seeing a movie.

As I approached my car, I saw a car had stopped behind my car and blocking me from getting out. I had opened my car door and was just going to ask them to move when I saw a man standing outside the car looking at a map. I asked him if he was lost. He said yes, he was looking for New Lynn. I said “You are a long way from there. You are obviously not from around here.” He said no, he was from Wellington. After ascertaining the road he wanted in New Lynn, I put my hand bag on the boot of his car, took the map from him and proceeded to show him how to get to his destination.

Suddenly there was a slight pause in the conversation and as quick as lightning, he grabbed my wallet out of my bag and jumped back in the car.

I screamed and tried to grab him, and in the process, was thrown to the ground and sustained a number of minor injuries.

This man was a Maori or Pacific Island man, with heavy facial hair, around 5ft 10in tall. Well spoken with only a very slight “bro” accent. He was in his twenties, well dressed and groomed. He was driving a Silver Grey Toyota Curren Coup with a solid spoiler.

My warning to people is this. Do not believe you will not be targeted. I am an intelligent, confident woman yet I got caught out. I believe in being the good samara tin: in helping people out but now, I will think twice about it. I will make sure I park in an area that is well populated by foot traffic even if that means I have to wait for a car park to become available. I will never offer to help someone again, unless I have taken care of myself and my possessions first.

However, I refuse to allow this one scumbag of a person to destroy my faith in human nature. I must always be aware that it is only around 3% of the population who behave like this. The other 97% are lovely, honest and helpful people like the kind couple that made sure I was okay and went to the Police Station with me, and the generous lady who rang 111 for me and waited till I had told the Police what had happened. My dear friend who came and stayed with me the whole time I was at he Police station and took me to the Emergency Dept the next day, and my daughter and her friend who travelled 45 mins to make sure I was okay and get me safely home. For my son’s who rang from Waiheke and the UK to check I was alright, the lovely young Police woman who was so kind and sensitive to what had happened to me. And finally the neighbours who have called on me daily to see if I need anything done and if I am alright. This is what I must focus on. But remember, do not be complacent like me, and think it will never happen to you. It can and does.



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