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The alleged offender, who was arrested by police in Mosgiel on Tuesday afternoon, was identified as 12 years old by another victim.
Registered nurse Beverley Burgess said she was finishing her night shift at the Otago Community Hospice about 11.30pm on Monday, when she noticed her car had been broken into.
She believed her Honda Civic had been broken into by the same 12-year-old police said stole at least eight cars that night.
The youth had failed to steal her car as he had been startled by a security guard, who had then called police, she said.
During the theft attempt, a window was smashed, the steering column was damaged in an attempt to access the ignition and blood was left in the car, which was likely caused by the broken glass.
When police attended, they told her she was one of six victims of similar offences that night.
She was annoyed about the damage to her car, which was uninsured as she had just moved back to Dunedin, she said.
She felt "very sad" given the young age of the suspected perpetrator and the path he appeared to be on.
Her message to him was to try to get help and accept it when it was offered to him, she said.
"I'm so sorry that his life has been whatever it has been to get him to this stage."
She hoped he would receive support or counselling through Youth Aid, but suspected the system probably would not achieve much because it was overrun and underfunded "like all of us".
Senior Sergeant Anthony Bond, of Dunedin, said the youth arrested on Tuesday afternoon had been returned to the care of Oranga Tamariki, which was trying to locate a place for him in a secure residence.
The boy was not criminally liable, but police were trying to work with Oranga Tamariki to prevent future offending.