A heavily pregnant woman who was robbed while manning her family's fruit and vegetable has been left traumatised by the act of "pure evil".
Kendall Clay - who is eight months pregnant – has been left traumatised after a man made off with the till containing cash at her stepfather's roadside stall in Awanui on January 31.
Clay, 22, who works part-time at the stall, said a large man and woman "scoped out" the area around 4pm before returning 20 minutes later.
The woman waited nearby in the car while her partner walked over and began inquiring about the price of watermelon.
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"He seemed a semi-nice guy and was pretending to text his mum to see what vegetables they needed. He asked to see if we had a bigger watermelon from the big bin in the trailer.
"Just as I was bending down to get the biggest one, he rushed straight toward me and picked up the whole till and eftpos machine.
"I started screaming, saying, 'please don't do this to me'. He just looked back with a pure evil look - he went from being one person to another, it was disturbing."
Walter "Poo" Masters employs about two dozen staff to sell his fresh seasonal produce such as watermelon, sweetcorn, potatoes and rock melon from the stall at the intersection of Gill Rd and State Highway 1.
Masters said he's fed up with the "out of control thieving" in the area.
His truck was broken into on the same day and a sum of cash was stolen, he said.
"These guys are desperate; they don't care who it is. They're brazen. "
Clay said the offenders drove off heading south before turning down Quarry Rd.
Several people stopped to help and comfort her, and she called 111 to report the incident to police.
Since then she has suffered sleepless nights.
"It was horrible. My chest was so tight it hurt to breathe. For the rest of that night I couldn't breathe properly.
"I was easy prey, being so pregnant couldn't really move or defend myself."
Clay posted a description of the offenders on social media and offered a reward for information.
Multiple people from the community came forward, including with the car's licence plate number, which was passed on to police.
Kaitaia Senior Sergeant Russell Richards said a 26-year-old local man was arrested yesterday and is due to appear in Kaitaia court today on one charge of theft.
The town was "not unlike any other community affected by meth", Richards said, and he reminded people to remain vigilant.
"It's a reminder not to let your guard down. You can become a victim at any time."
Te Hiku councillor Felicity Foy said methamphetamine addiction needs to be addressed and resourced better by central Government.
She welcomed the January 29 government announcement of $10 million to upgrade Kaitaia Hospital, including its maternity and mental health unit – which she said was "much needed in the community".
"It's sad that people are made to feel they're not safe to do traditional things like roadside stalls," Foy said.
"Only a small number in the community are putting a bad light on the majority, who are really great people."
Masters said he has introduced stronger security measures at the stall.