A grandmother whose Sunday breakfast was interrupted by an armed intruder says she initially thought the man was a drunk looking for a ride.
The 51-year-old was making eggs on toast for her 8-year-old son and 12-year-old grandson yesterday morning at her Kihikihi home near Te Awamutu when a man appeared at her kitchen asking for car keys.
"I didn't know he had come in here because the ranchslider was open. Of course, I refused to give him the car keys and next thing I know ... he says to me 'I've got a gun'. "I yelled up to my husband who was upstairs sleeping but he didn't hear me."
The woman, who did not want to be identified for safety reasons, then went into her 32-year-old son's room next to the kitchen.
At that time, her younger son was still at the table waiting for breakfast, but the 12-year-old had disappeared upstairs, she said.
"I thought he was a drunk coming in asking for car keys. It didn't really register, I didn't really believe him," she said.
"I think I was more in shock than scared ..."
After her elder son got out of bed and fetched his car keys, the intruder - who had followed her into his room while saying he had a gun and was "holding his hand down by his hip" - snatched them from him, found the car and left, she said.
The family, which included the woman's 51-year-old husband and 22-year-old daughter, were then evacuated from their Hall St home after police found a jacket on the fence believed to contain a homemade bomb, she said.
Last night, Detective Senior Sergeant Daryl Smith said officers were hunting the offender, who had also allegedly threatened staff at another address before entering the Hall St family's property.
"While at the address they've encountered a man who, when asked to stop, instead fled," he said of the initial Whitmore St incident.
"Chasing the man on foot, one of our two officers was suddenly confronted by him brandishing a firearm."
The man then fled on foot to reach the other property on Hall St, he said.
"He entered the home and confronted the occupants, taking the keys to one of their cars."
Police are looking for a silver 2003 Honda Accord station wagon, believed to have a white sticker on its rear window with the words "Train Station" on it.
*Phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 with anonymous tips.