Tess Nichol is an NZME. News Service reporter.

Handbag snatch leaves mum feeling violated

A CCTV image of a man using Ria Pou's credit card.
A CCTV image of a man using Ria Pou's credit card.

An Onehunga woman says she feels vulnerable and violated after having her handbag snatched from inside her house while she and her young daughter were at home.

Ria Pou said she hoped the public could help police to identify a man whose image was caught on CCTV using her credit card.

On Wednesday morning Mrs Pou was getting her 5-year-old ready for school when she realised her distinctive orange handbag was missing from the hall table where she had left it.

After calling her husband to check if he might have moved it, Mrs Pou realised it had disappeared while she was in another room.

"It's awful. You feel extremely vulnerable and violated," she said.

"You just think, 'Oh my God, someone was in our house. How rude, how cheeky, how brazen.'"

Mrs Pou was still rattled by the incident several days later.

"I keep thinking what would have happened if I had come into the hallway and seen them there. What would I have done? What would they have done?

"The risk I could have been in ... it's scary, really scary."

Mrs Pou's handbag had about $2000 of items in it, including her credit card, which was later used by a man at a nearby petrol station. His image was caught on CCTV.

After buying a pack of cigarettes, the man returned to make another purchase but staff at the service station became suspicious and confiscated the card, Mrs Pou said.

The money will be refunded as part of her insurance claim but Mrs Pou said the worst losses were things of sentimental value, such as a photograph she had just taken of her daughter holding her grandniece for the first time.

"I feel like they have stripped me of my identity," Mrs Pou said, adding that she now didn't have any form of ID with her married name on it.

"It sounds superficial but it's your comfort."

Police said they hoped someone who recognised the man in the CCTV footage would come forward.

Inspector Vaughn Graham of Auckland East police said that at this stage they were seeking the man only in relation to the credit card.

Police also want to reunite a "significant amount" of recovered stolen property with its rightful owners.

Last week a search of an Orakei home uncovered wallets, mobile phones, iPods and sunglasses. Police believe they were taken from vehicles broken into in the surrounding area.

In a separate investigation, a search of a West Auckland property uncovered more than 40 power tools.

Mr Graham said some of the power tools had distinctive markings which police hoped would make it easier to identify their owners.

- NZ Herald

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