Police alleged a man wielding a hammer pulled a woman out of her car outside a Napier supermarket, but couldn't steal it because he couldn't put it into gear.
Hawke's Bay Police say a 34-year-old man has been arrested and charged with aggravated robbery over the incident outside Pak 'n Save Tamatea on Sunday.
Acting Detective Sergeant James Forgie said it was a "random attack" and people in public should have a right to feel safe.
"This was a very scary experience for our victim and we are delighted to make a quick arrest."
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Forgie said a man allegedly approached the woman sitting in the car and presented a hammer about 7.25pm, demanding she get out.
He then pulled her from the driver's seat.
When a security guard attempted to intervene, they were threatened as well, Forgie said.
The man was unable to get the vehicle into gear, so fled on foot before police arrived at the scene.
Police then conducted a search warrant at the man's house on Tuesday afternoon and charged him with aggravated robbery.
The man is remanded in custody due to appear again in the Napier District Court on September 22.