Wellington and Porirua Police are asking for public help to identify and find a man believed to be responsible for three separate home invasions over the weekend.
Police have released security camera photos of the man, described as a Maori or Pacific Islander, about 180cm tall, and thought to be in his 20s. The cameras recorded the man using one of the victimâ€™s money cards to buy cigarettes and food at a Petone dairy on Saturday morning â€“ just hours after it was taken from his traumatised 82-year-old female victim.
"Someone must know who this offender is," says Detective Inspector Gary Knowles, head of Wellington CIB. "People who recognise him or who can tell us where he is are urged to give us a call. We want this type of violent offending stopped now."
The number to call is 0800 TIPOFF â€“ 0800 847 633.
Detective Inspector Knowles says the attacks were all very similar and the women victims in each case were left terrified by their ordeal.
The first invasion occurred at 6.30pm on Friday in Stephens Street, Johnsonville, when the man climbed into the house through an insecure window. He confronted the 25-year-old woman with a 20cm long knife, covered her face with a cloth, ripped the telephone from the wall and demanded cash and money cards.
"She fought off the attacker and he left the house, taking some electrical equipment with him."
At 5am on Saturday, an 82-year-old Kahu Road, Paremata, woman was held at knifepoint by a man who broke into her home through an insecure window.
"Light bulbs were removed, the phone thrown away and the womanâ€™s medical alert alarm ripped from her," Detective Inspector Knowles said. "She was threatened with violence, forced to move around the house on her walker to give him money and ordered to hand over her money card and identification details.
"The elderly lady was so terrified by the threats that she lay in her bed for several hours, too frightened to call police, until her caregiver arrived."
About 5.30am yesterday a 30-year-old Nicholson Road, Khandallah woman was confronted by the man armed with a pocket knife, who also demanded money and cards. The woman managed to talk the offender into another part of the house and her mother came to her aid.
One of the women was knocked to the ground but called for help and the offender left, possibly in a vehicle.
"These crimes were particularly nasty," Detective Inspector Knowles said. "Weâ€™re concerned by this offenderâ€™s increasing level of violence. His behaviour is becoming irrational and we want him stopped before someone gets hurt.
"If you know who he is, please give us a call. Better still, give yourself up."