Police have praised the actions of a quick-thinking Papatoetoe woman who came to the rescue of her elderly neighbour during an aggravated burglary at his home on Saturday.
The brave mum rushed to help the 85-year-old when she saw three disguised men pull up outside the man's Peverill Cres property and enter his house about 5pm.
""I knew something was wrong as one of the men had a bandanna over his mouth and I knew my elderly neighbour did not have three male friends," the woman told the Herald yesterday.
She walked over to the man's house, took photos of the offenders' car and called 111 when she realised the men were assaulting the pensioner.
Detective Senior Sergeant Alexander, who is in charge of the police investigation in the aggravated burglary, commended the woman for doing the right thing.
"I will be ensuring that she is visited by police officers and thanked personally for the brave decision that she made, which undoubtedly startled these offenders and possibly prevented further offending," he said.
Shortly after she walked over to the man's house to investigate the three men ran out of the house. Two were armed with knives, Alexander said.
They fled in a stolen red 2010 Nissan Juke with the registration KFH463.
One of the offenders chased the hero mum away as he was leaving and kicked her leg.
The men stole the senior citizen's bank cards and coin collection.
The elderly man was taken to Middlemore Hospital as a precaution. He was discharged on Sunday. Victim Support are supporting him as he recovers.
Police found the stolen car abandoned on Hilda Ave, Mangere, on Sunday.
Alexander said the officers investigating the incident were taking it very seriously.
"This was an absolutely horrendous crime by these three offenders who have targeted a vulnerable elderly man in his own home. Papatoetoe is a great community and will be as equally disgusted as police are with this type of offending."
Investigators are making inquiries and will be dropping leaflets appealing for more information in residents' letterboxes near where the vehicle was found.
Alexander asked anyone who had seen the stolen car between 6am on Saturday February 25 and about 2am the next day to contact the Counties Manukau Crime Squad on 09 261 1321, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Police also wanted to hear from anyone else with information that may be relevant.