Locals buy replacement for tourists’ stolen car

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A group of Nelson businesses has replaced a car belonging to a pair of English tourists after it was stolen and dumped in the Appleby River.

CCTV footage shows Leanne Majehrzak and Ryan Roberts’ car being stolen from outside their Nelson city hostel around 4.50am. The car, which contained the majority of their possessions, was taken on a “joyride” before being dumped it into the Appleby River.

leanne & ryan
Leanne and Ryan.

Leanne says her partner Ryan went to drive the car to work, but came back into their hostel saying it was gone.

“I was like ‘what do you mean the car is gone?’ And he said, ‘it’s gone, it’s not there,’ and that’s when we realised it had been stolen.

“We were devastated, all our winter belongings and quite a lot of other stuff was in there.”

Nothing was stolen, but due to a petrol leak most of their belongings had to be thrown away.

Leanne and Ryan had just decided to use buses for the rest of their trip when the phone rang, and BMTT’s Terry Thompson was on the other end.

After hearing about the couple’s plight, Terry agreed to lend a hand.

“Terry had his mechanics look over the car to see if they could salvage it. Basically he said, ‘nah, it’s too damaged, there’s no coming back, but me and the guys have been talking and we want to buy you a new car. We don’t want you to leave New Zealand with a bad impression,’ I couldn’t believe it,” says Leanne.

Terry raised funds from local businesses and three days later the couple had themselves a Toyota Estima.

Terry says he just had to help Leanne and Ryan.

“I felt really sorry for the poor buggers because everything they had was in the back and somebody just stole the car, put a brick on the accelerator, put it in gear and drove it into the river. I didn’t want them to think Nelson was a bad place so we brought them another wagon on Saturday.”

Terry’s gift couldn’t have fallen into more grateful hands, Leanne and Ryan say they are “so incredibly thankful”.

“They’ve all been so helpful, they’ve pretty much done everything for us, Terry and his wife Debbie are just unbelievable. I went to see them today and I took all the guys in the workshop a huge box of beers, a card, and some flowers and wine, and they were so happy. It’s the least we can do.”