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Family holiday ruined after hero dad runover trying to stop thieves stealing his car

Author
Jaime Lyth,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Jan 2024, 1:24PM
Muditha Kannangara was seriously injured when a thief stole his car and ran him over in Howick, Auckland.
Muditha Kannangara was seriously injured when a thief stole his car and ran him over in Howick, Auckland.

Family holiday ruined after hero dad runover trying to stop thieves stealing his car

Author
Jaime Lyth,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Jan 2024, 1:24PM

Auckland man Muditha Kannangara went to bed last Friday looking forward to a much-deserved holiday with his wife and their two daughters. 

Only hours later he was run over by his vehicle while trying to prevent a thief from stealing it. 

Sri Lankan New Zealand Helpline (SLNZ) founder Krishan Gallage said the family has been left on edge and the badly injured Kannangara now rueing his spur-of-the-moment decision to save his vehicle. 

Gallage said the family had just moved into a new house in Howick and were planning a trip to Rotorua the next day in celebration. 

Kannangara was awoken by a noise coming from his driveway at around 6.30am on Saturday. 

“In a moment of confusion and urgency, remembering the family trip he had promised, he rushed downstairs, only to discover an intruder trying to steal his car,” Gallage said. 

Kannangara tried to stop the thief but was run over. 

Founder of SLNZ Helpline Krishan Gallage with Muditha Kannangara's wife Dinushika, and their two daughters.Founder of SLNZ Helpline Krishan Gallage with Muditha Kannangara's wife Dinushika, and their two daughters. 

He was taken to Middlemore Hospital by ambulance in a serious condition and has since undergone surgery for his injuries. 

He remains in considerable pain, Gallage said. 

“Muditha’s recovery process and timeline are still uncertain. 

“When I spoke with Muditha, he managed to mumble a few words with a great effort and told me that he only confronted the thief because of his plans for the family holiday Saturday morning, otherwise he would not have risked his life. 

“His family, especially his wife, is now living in fear of another robbery, feeling unsafe at home with their young children.” 

Gallage said Kannangara realised now that he should have let the police handle the situation. 

“I urge everyone not to confront thieves, whether they are robbing your belongings, intruding into your house, or trying to steal your car. 

“Your life is far more valuable to you and your family than any material possession. 

“It’s frustrating to feel helpless in these situations, but Muditha’s experience teaches us about the risks and the impact on families and communities.” 

Gallage and the family thanked police for their quick response in searching for the offender and St John’s Ambulance and hospital staff for their support. 

Muditha Kannangara was seriously injured when a thief stole his car and ran him over in Howick, Auckland.Muditha Kannangara was seriously injured when a thief stole his car and ran him over in Howick, Auckland. 

In response to the incident, the community has rallied together to set up a page to assist Kannangara’s family To donate, use the Mudi Recovery Fund Account number: 02-0506-0250437-009. 

At the time, police said the owner of the vehicle was hit as the offenders left the scene in an attempt to prevent the burglary. 

The offender later abandoned the damaged car. 

Police said there are no updates to provide at this stage and the investigation remains ongoing. 

SLNZ is a free phone helpline that offers help and support to Sri Lankans living in New Zealand, which Gallage runs voluntarily. 

Jaime Lyth is an Auckland-based reporter who covers crime. She joined the Herald in 2021 and has previously reported for The Northern Advocate. 

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