Saturday, February 2, 2013

New Zealand: German Tourist, 25, Has Her Car Broken Into, Loses Everything But Street Clothes, Laptop

According to http://www.stuff.co.nz, German tourist Nicole Kleinhoelting, 25, arrived in Wellington yesterday (February 1) and upon returning to her parked car at 1930 hours on Carlton Gore Road in Roseneath, she discovered that her car had been broken into and and her bag, clothing and toiletries stolen, including a hard-drive containing most of the photos of her travels and her passport.

Fortunately, the young tourist avoided the loss of her laptop and sunglasses by taking with her a shoulder bag for her day trip.

Emotionally devastated by the theft of everything but her laptop, sunglasses and the clothes on her back, Ms. Kleinhoelting is now endeavoring to get her passport replaced at the German Embassy before she decides what the next step is. She had planned to travel for a year, but this incident is causing her to rethink her plans.

COMMENT: Ms. Kleinhoelting, who has been traveling in New Zealand since November 2012, has traveled to tourist destinations on the South Island, including Queenstown and Christchurch, and arrived in Wellington just two days before her car was broken into.

Although the German woman's car showed no sign of forced entry, she summoned police to her vehicle with a police report being filed in terms of what property had been stolen.

From a standpoint of what NOT to do when traveling abroad, particularly long term, it is never prudent to store one's luggage, valuables, passport and belongings in a vehicle left on the street for most of the day, as a vehicle left that long on the street is immediately suspect to scrutinizing  passersby and/or car thieves.

Visitors to New Zealand, based upon many of the incidents I've posted herein in recent years, is by no means low-risk. Thus, security vigilance is suggested. To see examples of travelers who have been victimized in New Zealand go to the "search prompt and type in "New Zealand."

New Zealand does have a victim support office based in Wellington. They can be reached by dialing (04) 474-8862 or sending an email to:
nationaloffice@victimsupport.org.nz.  

The news piece did not clarify where Ms. Kleinhoelting was staying overnight in Wellington, but it would have been far more secure for her to have stowed her luggage and belongings at a reputable hotel where she was staying.

Although I'm not necessarily a promoter of most hostels, because most are not designed with safety and security in mind, one property that is recommended in Wellington is http://www.downtownbackpackers.co.nz, which includes swipe card access, lockable storage lockers and surveillance cameras.