A British couple have been left stranded in New Zealand after thieves stole their passports .
Sasha Peterson and boyfriend Chris Nevin lost almost everything when opportunistic robbers smashed their way into the couple’s campervan in downtown Auckland on Boxing Day.
“The thieves took our passports, a laptop, a tablet, hard-drives, all my camera gear … but we’re saddest to lose all the memories and information those devices contain,” Sasha told New Zealand news website Stuff.
The couple, from County Durham, managed to track Sasha’s phone to an apartment block on Vincent Street, two minutes walk from their hotel, the Chronicle Live reported .
They assumed the culprit, their passports and the rest of their gear was inside the apartment.
But their hopes of a quick recovery were dashed when police knocked on the door of some of the apartments and told the couple that nobody had admitted to having their stolen possessions.
Sasha said: “Firstly, they might not answer the door – and secondly, why would they admit to stealing the goods to a policeman at the door?”.
The phone’s GPS did not pin-point which specific apartment the phone was in.
As of Thursday morning Sasha’s phone had been turned off entirely. She believes her belongings would by now have been taken from the apartment block to a market or a bin.
The pair drove a rented campervan around the country for six weeks and had flights booked to Hong Kong for December 28.
Unable to get emergency passports in time – the British Embassy was closed for the Christmas period – they missed their flight.
Sasha, 27, is half-Kiwi, and Auckland-based family she had never met before had taken the couple in for the meantime.
She and Chris, 36, said they were losing hope their belongings, worth around $1200, would be recovered.
While insurance would cover some of their loss, she said having 15 years’ worth of photos “probably just chucked in a bin” was gut-wrenching.
“They were backed up only in the hard-drive that was stolen and it won’t be any use to anyone.
“My masters dissertation and copies of all our documents were on it too.”
The couple – both nurses – had just spent an idyllic Christmas at a beach in Russell. Snaps from there, and their entire New Zealand adventure, were gone.
“We hadn’t even uploaded anything to Facebook because the internet connection has been bad … We were saving them up for when we reached Auckland’s wifi,” said Sasha.
The pair flew to Wellington in order to visit the British High Commission and get new passports, while booking a new flight for January 10.
However staff from the consulate got in touch to say they were open and were able to rush through a passport sooner.
That meant they were able to change their flight from next year to Friday, and were set to be home by New Year’s Eve.
“All being well we will be home for New Year and with any luck the police will have some good news for us in the new year too,” she said.
A police spokeswoman said officers were still following up several lines of inquiry regarding the theft.