15 May 2024

Car stolen from Waitara with baby inside: Woman charged appears in court

4:08 pm on 15 May 2024

By Tara Shaskey, Open Justice reporter of NZ Herald

Court crest

Photo: RNZ/Marika Khabazi

A woman has appeared in court after being arrested in connection with a stolen vehicle that had a baby inside, who was then dumped on the side of the road.

The 27-year-old New Plymouth woman has been charged with unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle.

She is yet to enter a plea to the charge, which carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.

The alleged theft occurred around midday on 12 May, according to court documents, from outside a dairy on the corner of Queen and Cameron streets in Waitara, Taranaki.

Shortly after, the alleged car thief took the baby from the back seat and left him on the side of the road, a moment which was captured on CCTV and shared online.

The 23-year-old mother had stopped at the shop, leaving her car briefly unattended.

Her father told NZME that when she saw her car and baby had been taken, she jumped in a member of the public's car and chased after the offenders.

She fainted after finding her baby on the grass berm, her father said.

Today, the woman charged in relation to the incident appeared in New Plymouth District Court.

She was remanded on bail ahead of her next appearance on 29 May.

Police confirmed today they are still working to locate the man involved.

In an earlier statement, police said the baby was unharmed.

On Monday morning, the vehicle was found abandoned on the corner of Henui and Mclean streets, after being driven "all over Taranaki" in the weekend.

"If you saw the silver 2014 Peugeot 508 station wagon, or have any information that may assist in our investigation and locating the man involved please contact police on 105," the statement said.

Anyone offering information could quote file number 240510/8076. Information could also be offered anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

This story was originally published by the New Zealand Herald.