A masked man forced a terrified woman from the passenger seat of a parked car and then stole it.
Police are investigating the apparent car-jacking at a shopping complex in northern Christchurch about 6.45pm on June 29.
Warren Garthwaite, 54, left his partner and keys in his pride and joy - a 1996 Nissan Skyline G-TR, registration ELM608 - while he went into Countdown Northwood.
She thought he had forgotten his wallet when the driver's side door opened about a minute later.
Instead, a man who had disguised his face with a blue bandanna hopped in and sat down.
"He just told me to get the f... out of the car," the woman, who wants to remain anonymous, said.
"I thought he was just playing, but then after a few times he reached over and tried to open the door and get me out. I thought, ‘s..., this is serious' and just got out and ran."
Garthwaite said he was at the checkout about to pay for his groceries when his partner rushed into the supermarket.
"I could tell she was pretty distraught by the look on her face and she said to me ‘it's gone - they've taken your car'."
Witnesses told him they saw a white Mazda RX7 and a white Toyota Supra follow his car out of the car park. He believed the two cars were connected to the crime.
"I really believe they were there to steal a car and they were just casing the joint out . . . and as soon as they saw my car they thought, ‘beauty, jackpot'."
Detective Sergeant Hamish Wilson said "while it remains unknown at this point if the offender knew someone remained in the vehicle before he got in, we have no doubt that this was a traumatic incident for the people involved."
Garthwaite said he held little hope of seeing the car, which he bought for $24,000 in 2008, again.
The thief is described as Maori, aged about 24, and wearing a black cap with a logo on it.
Any with information about the incident is asked to contact police on (03) 363 7400 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
- The Press