Neighbours are appalled by a "lowlife" who allegedly took flood-damaged property from outside a Ngongotaha home.
At 6am this morning Jan Kemp's son Steven walked outside his mother's house on Pioneer Rd to get the paper.
Across the road he saw a man with a white van taking furniture from the lawn of a flood-damaged home.
Kemp told the Rotorua Daily Post her son "asked him what the hell he was doing. The man said the furniture was being thrown out so he had a right to take it. Then my son repeated 'So what the hell are you doing?'."
She said other neighbours started to come out as the man got angrier and louder.
"More people had a go at him. He got quite aggro and drove off with a full van."
Police confirmed an alleged burglary was reported at 8am.
"We are a bit nervous now that others will come and do it. Everyone has their house open to dry, and they are not able to stay in them. It is pretty shocking. Anyone can put hi-vis on and look like a tradie," Kemp said.
Kemp said she felt terrible about the looting.
"We have lovely people here. The community is really good but it's a real shame when we have scumbags like that visit."
She contacted the homeowner Sam, and went up and down the street warning the neighbourhood this morning.
The floodwater was an inch away from Kemp's doorstep at its highest so she has been able to stay home, but Sam, who did not want to provide his last name, said his house was uninhabitable until inspection.
He described the alleged looter as a "lowlife".
"We have just been sorting through our furniture for the insurance. We had it stacked up down the side of the house. The water was over our ankles inside. Did we need the stuff? Yes and no. It is just the point of it. Being burgled was the last thing I expected."
He said he had trusted that the council's security measures would prevent stealing from happening.
The Rotorua Lakes Council acting civil defence controller Bruce Horne said Watchdog Security had been based in evacuated areas of Ngongotaha since "day one".
"We have also been telling police which houses are vacant so they can include them in their patrol plans," he said at a media briefing today.
"There is always going to be some risk. It is unfortunate people take advantage. It is awful that happens. In terms of this incident, we were aware of it but otherwise, the stories we are hearing are the opposite. People are looking after each other."