A woman who was pulled to the ground and dragged along the street during a bag snatching attempt in Newmarket on a recent Sunday morning says she no longer feel safe.
Police said the woman was lucky not to have suffered serious injury after she was pulled to the ground and dragged along.
The incident happened on Sunday, August 19 at 11.15am. The Herald was told it was one of two such incidents that happened that weekend.
On Saturday, August 18 a man tried to snatch a bag from another woman who was waiting to be picked up after a swim behind the Olympic Swimming Pool around 2pm.
She did not report to the police because she didn't lose her bag and suffered just minor scratches.
But she contacted the Herald because she wanted to "warn others".
"It happened so fast, like in a matter of seconds, because a car stopped and a man rushed out and tried to grab my bag," said the woman, who did not want to be identified.
"I fell the to the ground, and he quickly ran away when I screamed. I am still in shock."
Both victims were Asian - one Indonesian Chinese, the other Korean.
Inspector Joe Tipene of Auckland City Police said the Sunday incident happened on Crowhurst St, near the BP petrol station.
"The victim and her husband were walking when a male attempted to grab hold of her handbag, causing her to fall to the ground," Tipene said.
"Her husband intervened and the offender has left the scene on foot empty handed."
Tipene said the incident was obviously very distressing and frightening for the victim.
"It is lucky the victim was not seriously injured given she was pulled to the ground and dragged along," he said.
"It is completely unacceptable that an innocent member of our community going about their business would be targeted in this way."
Tipene described bag snatching offenders as cowards who had no regard for the safety of others.
Police were in the process of making further inquiries, he said, including speaking with witnesses and reviewing available CCTV footage.
The woman, who owns a business in Newmarket, said that the incident had left her shaken and scared.
"The fact that it happened in broad daylight on a Sunday means people can no longer feel safe anywhere or at anytime," said the woman, who also did not want to be identified.
"Robbers and thieves are becoming more daring, and it seems like the law can do nothing about them."
Tipene said these types of incidents were rare, but even one of these incidents was "one too many for the police".
"We did recently have another incident of a handbag snatch in Remuera for which a 23-year-old male has been charged with aggravated robbery," he said.
"While people should be able to walk around our streets we always have to be aware that opportunistic thieves likes this can be around and just to make sure you keep handbags close to you and ensure you report any suspicious activity."
Mark Knoff-Thomas, chief executive of the Newmarket Business Association, said he was alarmed and upset to hear about the two incidents and the trauma caused for the victims.
"We hope both are recovering well," he said.
"We remain dedicated to providing a safe experience for all customers, residents and business owners, and will continue to work closely and proactively with police and Cityguard Security to make sure our streets are safe."
Knoff-Thomas urged people to report crimes to police as soon as possible so that swift action could be taken to address the issue.
Late last year, an Auckland Chinese mother had her handbag snatched from her lap in while she sat in a parked car on Teed St.
The woman was sitting in the front passenger seat with her two children, aged 1 and 2, sleeping in the back seat when a man opened the driver's door and grabbed her handbag strap.