A man high on methamphetamine knocked a woman aged in her 60s off her bar stool in a Rotorua pokie bar as he tried to steal her handbag.

But Keepa Karaitiana was stopped in his tracks when he was tackled to the ground by patrons in the bar at the doorway.

Karaitiana, 28, appeared in the Rotorua District Court last week and admitted a charge of robbery.

A police summary of facts, just released to the Rotorua Daily Post, said Karaitiana was at Kasper's Bar on Tutanekai St on December 6 about 7pm when he went into the gaming room at the back of the bar.


A 66-year-old woman was sitting at one of the gaming machines on a high bar stool.

The woman was holding her handbag in her left hand and had it resting on her lap.

The summary said Karaitiana stood behind the woman and waited for an opportunity before moving towards her from the right.

Karaitiana then lunged towards the woman, snatched her bag with his left hand and tried to run off. The woman tried to hang on to her bag but the aggressive forced used by Karaitiana caused her chair to spin in a clockwise direction.

"The victim held on to her bag for dear life and the defendant pulled the victim off her chair causing the chair to fall to the ground," the summary said.

The woman lost balance and only managed to stay on her feet when another patron quickly helped her.

Using two hands, Karaitiana pulled the bag from her and ran towards the door but was tackled at the doorway by several patrons.

They let him walk free when he gave the bag back, the summary said.

The woman got medical help and suffered a sprained and bruised little finger and was sore and shaken.

The summary said Karaitiana told police he was under the influence of methamphetamine and needed money as he spent it all on pokies.

Judge Tony Snell told Karaitiana that given he had pleaded guilty to a serious violent offence he was giving him his first warning under the three strikes legislation.

The warning meant if he were to be convicted of three serious violent offences, he would serve the entire sentence without any early release or parole.

Judge Snell remanded Karaitiana on bail to reappear for sentencing on April 26.

The victim will be given the opportunity to do restorative justice with Karaitiana but a police prosecutor said it was unlikely she would want to take part.