Racheal Connell's children thought they saw a ghost outside their bedroom windows - now they are wondering if there is a link to the "creepy" intruder that terrified a neighbouring family.
The Chapman family from Tikitere have been left traumatised after a man tapped on the window of their young daughters' bedroom just before 4am on Friday.
Their 3-year-old opened the window and chatted to the man, who told the young girl to go and get her mum.
Jenny Chapman told the Rotorua Daily Post she didn't believe her young daughter when she woke her to say there was a man outside her bedroom.
She went to put her back into bed, but got a massive fright when she went to close the open curtain and saw a man's head pop through the window, saying "hello".
Chapman said the man appeared mentally unwell and was talking about hell and the Bible. He commented he had been to other houses, but theirs was the only one with lights on. The man left after Chapman screamed and said she was going to call the police.
Connell, who lives not far from the Chapman's, said she was reading about their ordeal and suddenly felt ill.
The previous weekend her children each commented separately that they had seen a man outside their bedroom windows.
Connell said her daughter mentioned over breakfast on Sunday, June 25 that she woke up at about 2am to the sight of someone outside her bedroom. In her sleepy state, she ignored it and went back to sleep.
Her 9-year-old son had commented at the time that he thought he saw someone outside his window the night before at about 8.30pm.
Connell said the family didn't think too much of it and didn't ring the police.
"We thought it was a ghost and laughed it off until I read what Jenny [said]. Now we wish it was a ghost."
Connell said she had since found two footprints in the garden outside one of the children's bedrooms.
She said they were now uneasy, and felt the whole thing was "creepy". She said she echoed the Chapman's call for locals to be extra vigilant.
Police attended the incident at the Chapman's but couldn't find the man. They have done forensic testing around the window.
One of the Chapman's neighbours has captured CCTV footage of a vehicle that was driving down their road shortly before the incident at 3.45am. The vehicle was tooting its horn and had a man inside who slowed down at the driveway and looked in. The video has been passed on to the police.
No other reports of similar complaints had been made to police but, in a statement, a spokesperson said police reports of people being on a property unlawfully were taken seriously.
"As such, the definition of 'burglary' is quite wide and may include such circumstances."
In respect to the incident at Tikitere, the statement acknowledges that police attended the scene and collected forensic material from the house in question.
"We have since sent this away for analysis and whilst we await the result, have managed to identify one possible lead, which may lead to further action. No further details can be provided at this time as this is a matter currently under investigation," the statement said.
Police recommend that houses were locked in the evening, as well as keeping windows closed, locked or even better – fitted with security stays. Motion detection security lights were also a very good and low-cost option for households, working as a visual deterrent and precautionary measure.