A friend of missing Auckland woman Rae Portman has been accused of taking her car without permission and selling it.
The 33-year-old - known as "Bok" to her friends - was last seen on June 20 at the Mt Albert Motor Lodge and police have grave fears for her safety.
Police understand Portman bought a silver 1999 VW Passat registration CQH76 for $2000 between June 10 and 14. She used the car for personal use, however never changed the ownership of the vehicle to her name.
On June 19 Portman took the car to a Hamilton workshop for a warrant of fitness but it failed because of worn tyres, worn seat belts, broken headlights and a worn steering wheel component.
At 3pm the next day, Portman drove the car to a friend in Auckland for him to repair it.
She was then taken back to her motel by an associate. The last reported sighting of her is at the motel at 8pm.
Detective Inspector Mark Gutry said police were keeping an open mind about anyone who could be involved with Portman's disappearance but confirmed the Auckland mechanic was not a suspect.
From the evening of June 20 onwards, Portman has not made contact with any family members, close friends or used her bank accounts.
On July 3 - a day after Portman's mother, Rebecca Norton, reported her missing - Portman's friend who was fixing her car contacted one of her friends on Facebook to say he still had the car and wanted to return it to Portman's family, Gutry said.
Police say the man then drove the car to the friend's Auckland home and on July 17, the friend changed the ownership of the car to her own name and traded it for $1000 at a dealership at Western Springs.
When police interviewed her on September 5, she said she didn't have Portman or her family's permission to pick up the car.
The woman appeared in the Auckland District Court this morning charged with stealing a motor vehicle and has been remanded until November 20 for a status hearing.
Reparation was sought from the court for $2000 for the vehicle and is to be paid to Portman's mother.
This is the fourth arrest police have made in their search for Portman, a known drug user.
Voi Marie King, 30, was charged with assaulting Portman at a Manurewa property on June 8. The 30-year-old is defending the charge and will reappear in the Manukau District Court next month.
Two men have also been charged with drug offences.
Police have said the arrests were not connected to Portman's disappearance.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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