A 79-year-old business owner wrestled with an alleged burglar in a central Napier street after the chance discovery his premises had been raided for a third time in as many days.
And at least two people saw the scuffle, and ignored what was going on, says the victim.
Trainworld proprietor John Burt awoke just before 6am on Sunday feeling "uncomfortable" about the security of his premises, even though he had taken extra precautions after being broken into twice in two days.
Up to $6000 worth of new model engines are missing after the first entry overnight Thursday and Friday.
So Burt headed downtown on Sunday, just in time to see a man leaving Trainworld with a boxed Harry Potter train set, which retails at close to $600.
"I was just arriving in the street outside when I saw him," Burt recalled as he reopened for the first customers mid-morning on Sunday
"I did a U-turn and came back, he was coming out by the fire escape door and he had all my stuff."
The pair grappled in the middle of central Napier thoroughfare Dickens St — barely 200 metres from Napier Police Station — before the man broke away.
Burt told the man he had photos of him on his phone and he wouldn't get away with it - the accused turned and called Burt a "liar".
The man denied taking the box of train engines which disappeared in the first burglary, but were later found concealed on the property. Burt believed a thief had planned to return and take the engines - the premises were broken into a second time on Friday/Saturday night but little was taken.
Burt said on Sunday, at least two people saw the confrontation but didn't come to help.
"I was 79 a few days ago. I don't need this. We had a confrontation that went on for quite a few minutes. He dropped all the stuff and took off. I fell over and banged my head."
Burt had managed to call police on his cellphone, and officers arrived and apprehended the suspect who had fled through Civic Court, from Dickens St to Station St, headed for Hastings St.
Trainworld is a feature Napier holiday attraction, including the Napier City Council-owned Lilliput collection, once housed on Marine Parade and with a history dating back about 70 years.
A police spokesman said a 24-year-old man, believed to be from Napier, had been arrested and would appear in Napier District Court on Monday charged with burglary.