German tourist's possessions stolen

TOM HUNT
Last updated 10:10 01/02/2013

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She travelled through New York and Chicago without problem, but when Nicole Kleinhoelting arrived in Wellington she was left with only the clothes on her back.

Ms Kleinhoelting, 25, parked the car with all her possessions in Carlton Gore Rd in Roseneath for the day yesterday.

When she returned from a Lord of the Rings tour at 7.30pm, someone had broken into her car and stolen a bag containing all her clothes and her toiletries. She was also robbed of a hard-drive containing most of the photos of her travels, a Swiss Army knife given as a going away present when she left Germany, and her passport.

''I could cry all the time. I'm really thinking about going home,'' she said.

''I have no idea because I wanted to travel around for a year. But right now I'm not in the mood to travel anymore.''

Fortunately, she had taken a bag with her wallet with her when she was out yesterday, and the thieves missed a laptop and expensive pair of sunglasses in her car.

While the rest of Wellington goes Sevens mad today, she is at the German Embassy trying to arrange a fresh passport.

Taking a break between jobs in Germany, Ms Kleinhoelting arrived in New Zealand in November with plans to stay until April.

In the time since, she has toured the tourist hotspots of the South Island, including sleeping in her car in Queenstown and Christchurch. She had no issues with crime anywhere.

Similarly, previous trips to the United States, including in Chicago and New York, had resulted in no problems.

But she arrived in Wellington just two days before she was robbed, potentially foreshortening her North Island adventure.

''I thought New Zealand would be safe. It seems to me I'm wrong.''

Sergeant John Lewis, of Wellington Police, said there was no sign of forced entry into Ms Kleinhoelting's car and no-one had come forward yesterday saying they had seen anything suspicious.

Thefts from ''tourist vehicles'' was unfortunately a common problem in Wellington, he said.

''It's always hard when these people get victimised, because they come here with such positive attitudes.''

''So the public should always keep an eye out for suspicious activity around tourist vehicles, because they're often targeted for this reason.''

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- The Dominion Post

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