Pair’s grief over theft
WHAT started out as a trip full of good intentions has turned into a nightmare for Jackie Margaret.
The Nelson resident drove her white 1989 Toyota Hiace van to Auckland to return precious family heirlooms to her partner Bob Stewart’s family after he passed away earlier this year.
But the van was stolen from Arotau Place, off Carlton Gore Rd in Grafton, just after midnight on November 9 with all the goods still in the back.
“It’s a bit unbelievable. I felt wobbly, then got that sinking feeling,” Ms Margaret says.
Mr Stewart, who was just 62, died after a battle with a rare type of blood cancer.
“He died very suddenly. He was only diagnosed in October and by January had passed away.”
Stolen mementoes included family photos, old books, an ornate walking stick, a trinket box, wood turnings handmade by Mr Stewart and a rare set of red Encyclopaedia Britannica, with a gold trim.
Many of the books and photos also had Mr Stewart’s name written on them.
Ms Margaret says she made a point of parking off the main road after she became concerned people letting off fireworks might damage the van.
“The motorway is right there and it had a reasonable amount of fuel, so it could be anywhere.”
While Ms Margaret, who is an artist, used the van regularly to transport her supplies, she is more concerned with getting the stolen items back.
“Of course I’d like the return of the van, but most importantly the belongings were of great value to the family.”
Mr Stewart’s former wife Jenny says many of the belongings that were to be passed on to his five children and 11 grandchildren may be lost forever.
“There wasn’t anything of great commercial value. It’s more a personal and sentimental value – his pieces of wood turning are irreplaceable,” she says.
“They all knew their grandfather and visited him. It’s been a big year for everyone.”
The van, with the registration number OB2436, is recognisable because it was modified to include a bed in the back and curtains attached to the windows.
Ms Margaret believes the unusual look of the van may have drawn the thieves to it, particularly because the curtains were open so they could have seen the items inside.
Police say they have no current lines of inquiry on the whereabouts of the van or items.
If you have seen the stolen van call the Auckland Central police station 302-6400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you come across any of the stolen items.
Out of luck: Jackie Margaret, right, was returning items from her deceased partner Bob to his family, but they were stolen along with her van from Grafton last week. Bob’s former wife Jenny, left, would like the heirlooms returned.