Thieves who stole a car from Nelson Airport returned it a week later with a note that read: “Sorry for the inconvenience”.
The 1988 Corolla station wagon belonged to Matthew Hadfield, who flew home from his father’s funeral in Auckland on December 13 to find the car, his guitar and 30 years of precious sheet music gone.
The 47-year-old orchard worker checked with airport security and discovered the car had not been towed as he suspected, but stolen.
He reported it missing to police, who called a week later to say the car was back at Nelson Airport.
“It had been returned back to the airport, inside the barrier arms now because I’d parked outside the security barriers so I didn’t have to pay.
“Whoever had nicked it had taken it for a joyride – I don’t know why you would joyride in a 1988 Toyota Corolla diesel.”
Security footage showed two young men returning the vehicle to the airport, where it is now incurring an $8 per day parking fee.
Hadfield suspects the men, possibly aged in their 20s, may have used the car for a holiday. The classical guitar had also been used.
“It had been returned, to open tuning. There’s standard tuning, but then there’s something called open tuning and they had open-tuned it.”
Though relieved to have the sheet music back, Hadfield had already replaced the uninsured, $450 car and the old acoustic guitar.
“The thing is, now I’ve got two cars, and there’s only one of me, and I’ve got two guitars.
“You can’t drive two cars at once and you can’t play two guitars at once.”
He upgraded the car to a 1999 Toyota Previa and had also replaced much of his clothing in the stolen car at a second-hand shop.
Hadfield, who has been playing guitar since age 12, had his possessions in the car while he attended his father Richard Hadfield’s funeral in Albany, because he was due to start work in a new town in the New Year.
Hadfield hasn’t decided what he’ll do with the car at the airport, now it’s been returned.
He said the theft was more than a minor inconvenience.
“The note said: ‘Sorry for the inconvenience’. Yeah it was quite inconvenient. It is really, really inconvenient for me now.
“If I’d known they were going to bring it back I might have waited for a bit and that would have been inconvenient but now it’s really inconvenient.
“From having absolutely nothing to suddenly having two cars, two guitars and a full wardrobe, you can’t make this up. But now what? If anyone wants a cheap Toyota Corolla…”
Hadfield said he saw the funny side of the situation.
“What is the universe trying to tell me?”