He was tall and stocky and stood as still as a statue.
At 10pm, when I parked the First Security car in his driveway the light was behind him as he faced me from about 5m away, arms a little out from his sides, like a wrestler.
The company's monitoring centre had sent me to install a GPS ankle bracelet in a remote and run-down Hauraki Plains town called Kerepehi.
Only after getting out of the car did I see he was holding a machete.
This is New Zealand's home detention frontline in 2015, where security guards on minimum wages are sent out alone, including at night, after one day's training and no idea what awaits them.
One of my colleagues was attacked with a baseball bat and another was savaged by a dog.
I did the job for 2 months in the Waikato and found it was sometimes the family member, friend or neighbour who was the threat, not the criminal.
"There's no need for that," I told the man. "Obvious I'm a security guard," I touched the uniform and then car.
"Are you X?" He didn't move, and a long minute passed.
"Next door," he said, finally.
Another night, at 9pm in Hamilton, I had just attached a bracelet to a friendly young Tongan "offender" when an unrelated woman staggered out of a noisy party, two houses away, leapt in front of my car and banged repeatedly on the bonnet with both fists.
Her eyes were wide and rolling, and I wondered about hard drugs. She pulled open the driver's door that, in my stupidity, was unlocked, grabbed my wrist, pulled, and she seemed incredibly strong. Without my seatbelt I would have been dragged out.
"Get out of the f***ing car, get out of the f***ing car," she kept repeating. A man in a black hoodie walked up behind her and I thought I was gone. To my relief he pulled her off, but both took on the six police officers who arrived in three cars after a resident dialled 111. It needed all six to restrain and handcuff the couple.
The woman admitted assault and has yet to be sentenced.
For 20 years, New Zealand has detained convicted criminals and those awaiting sentencing at their homes. Until this year, Chubb had the Corrections Department contract, but the United States corporate 3M, formerly Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, and its First Security NZ partner, a subsidiary of Australia's Wilson Security, offered new GPS equipment and an undercut price.
The changeover was a scramble. People with no experience, like me, were hired. We had doubts that all offenders, wearing the old units, were being monitored. After the first few weeks, we were told we no longer needed to contact Chubb before cutting off old bracelets. In Hamilton a child, the brother of a young woman who was supposed to be contained by GPS within her own property, told me his sister was down the street at a friend's house, where I found her.
Huntly is the hub of home detention. I installed nine bracelets one day. It took my two colleagues and me several days - one officer to one "offender" - to do the whole town. Everyone knew why we were there. I stopped randomly to check a map before two young Maori women came out of a house, saying they had a male relative inside needing a bracelet. I checked at the centre. He wasn't on the list.
It was not the only instance of grim humour. One of the first bracelets I installed was at Coromandel in late February. "Won't be on for long," he told me. I thought he had a short sentence ... not that he was going to cut it off in two weeks.
I worry for former colleagues. They should not be sent alone when meeting the likes of my Coromandel man. His name is Rodney George Martel and, according to the police "Wanted to Arrest" list, is still on the run. "Dangerous," the website says. "Do not Approach."
The Weekend Herald approached First Security about Paul Bensemann's story. General manager Mike Rutherford declined to comment.
Off the leash
Several prisoners have made headlines in the past few months by slipping their electronic bracelets and going on the run. Recent cases include:
• August 6: Convicted child sex offender David Livingstone, who escaped but was arrested by police in the Hutt Valley two days later.
• August 22: Michael George Mulligan, 30, in Southland.
• August 28: Zane McVeigh, 19, in Wellington.
• August 29: South Auckland man Thomas Shortcliffe, who assaulted a security guard after he cut off his bracelet.
• September 3: Violent offender Casey Cowan, 44, in Avondale.