Witnesses have described watching a man armed with a 30cm-long crescent assault the owner of a ute he was attempting to steal at a commercial premises in Rotorua this morning
Police confirmed a single-cab white ute was stolen from the carpark of PGG Wrightson on Marguerita St about 10am with the owner of the vehicle hurt during the incident.
A woman who works in a nearby business said she and other office staff heard yelling coming from the carpark outside. She said she ran outside and saw the owner of the ute and another man trying to pull the offender, who was in the driver's seat, out.
She said the offender backed the ute into a power pole at speed and the ute stalled.
She said the two men were yelling at the man to "get the f**k out of the ute" but the man got the ute started again and sped off.
She said the offender was armed with a crescent at least 30cm long but the owner of the ute managed to get it off him during the struggle. The owner was trying to smash the front window of the ute with the crescent as the offender was trying to get away.
The woman said the offender was wearing a high-vis vest and a beanie.
"He was f****** determined. He just high tailed it out of there," she said.
Another worker in the area said he came out towards the end of the commotion and saw the owner of the ute trying to stop the man. The man said he got his hand to the window but the offender put the window up.
The owner of the ute briefly spoke to the Rotorua Daily Post and said the ute was locked and sat in the carpark every day.
"It's just another stolen car. It's happening in Rotorua every single day."
He showed the Rotorua Daily Post the graze on his arm he suffered in an attempt to get his vehicle back.
The incident unfolded in front of a line of people waiting to get their warrant of fitness at Vehicle Testing New Zealand.
A man in the queue said they couldn't believe what they saw happening and he said understandably many of those in the vicinity were reluctant to get involved.
"You just don't know these days aye."
Police said in a statement they responded after a car was stolen from a commercial premises on Marguerita St at 10am today.
"One person was assaulted during the theft and received minor injuries.
"It appears the offender has crashed the vehicle into a power pole on Marguerita St a short time later," the statement said.
Police are still making inquiries to find the vehicle and offender.