Piha locals have stepped in to catch a burglar after he allegedly assaulted an elderly woman in her home.
The incident on Glenesk Rd on Saturday night has left residents in the community on Auckland’s west coast concerned for their safety as they continue to rebuild from Cyclone Gabrielle.
A police spokesperson said they were notified of an attempted burglary and an assault on Glenesk Rd at 8.05pm.
A 19-year-old is due to appear in the Waitakere District Court on Thursday on charges of assault and burglary.
Police said no “significant injuries” appeared to have been reported from the assault. Residents on a local community page said the victim was an elderly woman.
The 19-year-old, according to locals, was reportedly part of a group staying at an Air BnB nearby who had attempted to break into several other properties before entering the woman’s home.
The residents also shared on Facebook that two neighbours took down the teen, pinning him to the ground for 25 minutes before police could arrive and arrest him.
“Everyone’s nerves are raw,” a post to Facebook by a concerned local read. “And the lowest bottom feeders are always prepared to take advantage of an opportunity.”
They added businesses in Piha were struggling after the cyclone destroyed or damaged several homes and temporarily cut-off the area from the rest of Auckland by road.
“We all miss our friends and family coming out to see us. But red and yellow stickered homeowners have their homes and possessions vulnerable until decisions are made.”
The incident follows fierce opposition from residents in Muriwai, another cyclone-battered coastal community, which led Auckland Council to backtrack on a decision to lift cordons, which would have exposed red-stickered houses to potential looters.
Many Muriwai residents were distraught at the initial decision to lift hard street cordons in Muriwai today and allow street access to the general public to more than 100 red-stickered and still deserted houses.
Muriwai was one of the worst-hit suburbs in the Auckland region from Cyclone Gabrielle’s onslaught. A landslide in the early hours of Monday, February 13, killed two volunteer firefighters there.
All major roads into the community had been blocked with cordons since then, but on Friday afternoon Auckland Council announced several roads would abruptly be reopened today.
After the Herald’s questions to Auckland Council on Saturday about the community objection to the cordons being lifted, the decision was reversed.