SYDNEY, Australia -- A distraught woman used cell phone text messages to persuade a thief to return her car.

Lee Alaban, 34, of Port Macquarie had her Holden Commodore sedan stolen while she was at work on March 30, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Wednesday.

Her 13-year-old son's cell phone was in the car, so Alaban sent text messages to the thief. She explained that the car was a gift from her father shortly before he died and that presents for her son's birthday, which was on the following day, were in its trunk.

"We exchanged a number of text messages," Alaban told the newspaper. "He started apologizing and I felt I was getting through. Next thing, I got this text saying he will return the car."

The thief wrote another text message telling her where to find the car, which he abandoned in a parking lot ‹ but not before stealing the cell phone and the birthday presents.