Police are seeking help from the public in tracking down two men described as "heartless, gutless individuals" who robbed an elderly Napier woman of several hundred dollars she had withdrawn from a supermarket ATM on Tuesday morning.
The robbers watched the 76-year-old woman, who was with her 75-year-old husband, getting the money from the ATM at the Countdown Supermarket off Carlyle St in Napier.
They pounced as the couple were walking home at about 9am.
Constable Andy Clinton said the intervention of two workmen who heard the woman's cries resulted in them chasing and confronting the two robbers, who were on bicycles, and getting them to hand over the money. They did, but unfortunately the pair cycled off before police could arrive.
Mr Clinton did, however, acknowledge the actions of the passing road workers.
"They showed great courage to not only chase the offenders but to stop them and retrieve the money for the victim.
"It was a great gesture and the couple very much appreciate it."
The couple did not want to speak about the incident yesterday and the workmen were unable to be contacted.
Mr Clinton said the couple told police that later, as they walked by the KFC outlet at the bottom of Dickens St, they noticed two young men on bikes in the company of two females.
Officers were also told later by a witness that the same group had been near the Countdown ATM at about the same time the couple had been there.
It appeared they were "scoping" the area and watching people making withdrawals.
The elderly couple were nearly at their Carlyle St home when the two men they had seen earlier rode up - one snatching the money and a bank card from the woman's hand.
Mr Clinton said the couple were left badly shaken and police were determined to find the offenders.
"This was a terrible thing to happen to an innocent elderly couple who were just going about their business," he said.
"They were obviously targeted because of their age and we need as much help as possible to find the offenders."
He described it as a cowardly act on vulnerable members of society - adding that the husband had recently undergone heart surgery.
Police are appealing for any information about the incident and have asked retailers on Carlyle St to check their CCTV footage between 9am and 10am on Tuesday.
The first male who snatched the money is described as Maori, in his 20s, with black curly hair and a beard. He was wearing a purple baseball cap, brown T-shirt and black jeans. He had a black jersey around his shoulders.
The second male was either Caucasian or pale Maori, about 1.82m (6ft) tall, of skinny build and wearing shorts. He had a scab on his face.
One male was riding a black mountainbike and the other a blue mountainbike.
Anyone with information about the offenders is asked to contact Mr Clinton at Napier Police, ph 831 0700 - or the Crimestoppers line.