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Volunteer gutted after car stolen

SARAH CODDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 17/12/2013
Utakea
STOLEN PROPERTY: Rochelle Utakea and her daughters Angalenna, 7, Aleesha, 9, and Alannah, 12, were shocked to find their family car stolen after a hockey match.

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Sports volunteer Rochelle Utakea went from a high to a new low in one week.

She was still celebrating her new title as the 2013 Counties Manukau Sport volunteer of the year when her car was stolen.

It was taken from outside the Papatoetoe Sports Centre last Friday night.

"It feels dirty. Your car is like your home, it's like someone breaking into your personal space," she says.

Ms Utakea had parked in the Sutton Cres car park next to the hockey turf.

The lighting was good and she checked the car at half-time.

The theft was reported to police at 9.45pm. The Mazda Atenza was found close to East Tamaki Rugby Club on Sunday morning.

"The towing company told me there were a lot of car thefts that night," Ms Utakea says.

Hers had been trashed, all the upholstery taken out and the windows smashed.

All of Ms Utakea's hockey coaching equipment, sports gear and laptop had gone. Her volunteer award was also in the car, along with the $500 voucher she won with it to buy sports gear for her coaching.

The mother-of-three had car insurance but it did not cover the contents.

"I thought theft was covered on full insurance. I learnt the hard way. My advice to others would be to check," she says.

Now she's been reduced to borrowing coaching equipment to keep up with practices for children at the Southern Districts Hockey Club.

She spends about six nights a week on the hockey turf coaching, in committee meetings or playing for the women's division four team, and she ferries children to games and practices to help out other parents.

At the moment she is borrowing her husband's car. But that means she has to drop him off to work at 4am and get back in time to drop the children at school.

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- Manukau Courier

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