A "spooked" mother in the upmarket Auckland suburb of Northcote Point is warning fellow residents that a Mongrel mobster with face tattoos knocked on her door asking for donations.
Yesterday morning about 9.30, the woman's partner answered the man's knock at the door.
After a conversation with the mobster, he suggested his partner share a warning on a local Facebook page.
The couple have now spoken to the Herald, on the condition of anonymity, and revealed what happened when the mobster knocked on their door.
"When I got to the door his face was pressed up against it with his hand up and he was peering through," the male resident said.
"The garage door was open and there were two cars in the driveway and one in the garage so he knew people were here but I didn't take much notice of that."
When the local opened the door he saw a young man standing there.
The Northcote Point resident described him as a short Polynesian man with a Mongrel Mob tattoo on his left cheek, tattoos on his eyebrows and who was missing some teeth.
"[He] definitely looked like somebody who had a different life," the resident said.
The mobster, who told the resident he had eight children, delivered a spiel about how it has been hard for him to find work because he has been in and out of jail and rehab and that his daughters were pushing him to make money so the family could buy a $2800 seven-seater van.
"He's out of rehab and his kids are the ones that said, 'dad, stop doing that. Make an honest dollar'.
"One stage when he was talking his eyes started to well up, he took a couple of steps back and he was like 'this is really hard for me, I'm sorry, I'm trying to do my best. I just want to get a van for my kids'."
The mobster told him that he has been in South Auckland and West Auckland looking for donations and he now was knocking on people's doors in Northcote Point.
The mobster was holding a ring binder with an exercise book with people's names, addresses, contact numbers and donations, the resident said.
"There must have been 30 names on that list. The donations were small, from $5 to $20. And he had an old postal bag that he had all the money sitting in," he said.
After the mobster's spiel, the resident found him "non-aggressive" and "non-threatening" and therefore decided to give him a $5 donation.
"He wasn't intimidating," the resident said about the encounter.
"I didn't think anything of it, other than there was I guy that came to my door and he was asking for koha. I could have sent him away, I could have said no, I could have ignored him, I could have shut the door on his face but I decided to listen to him and I made the choice to help him with a $5 donation for his cause."
But thinking about it afterward, the male resident told his partner what happened and suggested she post on her local Facebook page to warn others.
"I'm a male, it didn't mean a lot to me, but there are a lot of males around here that are at work and their wives are home with their young kids and I could imagine if he turned up at most of the places at Northcote Point, the women would get bit of a shock and a fright."
The female resident then reported the incident to police after making a Facebook post on her local page yesterday morning.
"He could be completely legit, but it if it was just me on my own at home with the kids I would have been really unsettled if it had been me answering the door," she told the Herald.
Police agreed with her making the Facebook post and told her it was a good idea to share the incident to make everyone aware of the mobster being in the area.
"Also because the kids are at the local school there's a lot of stuff about vans driving around. So in my mind, this is definitely something I should put on the page just to make people aware."
"His story could be completely true, but you just don't know for sure."
Even though the female resident thought the mobster may have been genuine, she would still be locking her doors and making sure the house is safe overnight.
One resident commented on the Facebook page that the man knocked on their door and also reported it to police.
Some shared the mobster should be out working or asking the Mongrel Mob for donations instead of "intimidating people in their homes".
However, some defended the mobster, saying he was only intimidating because of his tattoos.
"This man did not threaten, did not intimidate verbally in any way (only by appearance depending on the person answering the doors judgment)," one person wrote in a second post to the local page.
"[He] did not literally do anything to put anyone at risk other than ask for help and be honest, yet there are multiple people placing judgment on someone they don't know a bar of."
"Not every 'criminal' is the same. Not every 'gang member' is the same."
A police spokesman said: "Police are aware of this report. We encourage members of the public to report any suspicious behaviour to police immediately."