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Rachael Platt, of Fairfield, said her 17-year-old son’s car was stolen from FreshChoice Green Island last week.
Her son, Will Smith, had worked all the hours he could to save up for the car, which was his "pride and joy".
He had recently had it serviced and warranted for a full year.
But when he finished work at 7pm on Friday the red Mazda Demio was gone.
Ms Platt said the car was taken by a 12-year-old boy who was known for such behaviour and was in the care of Oranga Tamariki.
The car was recovered near Blackhead Quarry.
Images showed the front and back left wheels had been driven on the rims, the car’s ignition had been destroyed and the rear windows broken.
Her son was waiting to hear from his insurance company, but Ms Platt believed the vehicle would be a write-off.
She had posted about the incident on social media and had been contacted by people who were aware of other incidents the offender had allegedly been involved in.
Her fear was that a serious injury could occur if the 12-year-old continued his behaviour.
"It is only a matter of time before he or someone else is seriously injured," she said.
She had tried to contact Oranga Tamariki about the incident and she hoped it would help financially, although she understood previous victims who had tried to contact the agency for compensation had been unsuccessful.
She expected to have to pay the insurance excess.
Senior Sergeant Anthony Bond said police located the car in Blackhead Rd about 10pm on Friday.
The young person ran off and was tracked by the police dog team.
He has been returned to his caregivers and would be dealt with by Youth Aid, Snr Sgt Bond said.