An elderly Bay of Plenty woman has been assaulted in what police say was a cowardly daytime attack.
The 76-year-old encountered an intruder in her Opotiki home about 1.15pm yesterday. When she demanded to know what he was doing, he grabbed her and demanded cash, a police statement said.
The woman tried to flee, but the intruder threatened to kill her if she screamed or called police.
The man forced her into a bedroom, where the woman later escaped through a window while the man stole a small amount of cash and ran.
The attack left the woman bruised and shaken, but not in need of hospital treatment.
Police Detective Constable Ash Clements said the attack was "cowardly" and in a place the woman should be safe.
"He (the offender) needs to be caught, this type of offence can not he tolerated in our community."
The intruder is described as a man in his late teens or early 20s, fair-skinned Maori, of short stature and slim build.
Anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the King St area between 1pm and 1.30pm, or anyone who has any knowledge of this incident is asked contact police as soon as possible.
The Opotiki Police can be contacted on (07) 315 1112, the Whakatane Police on (07) 308 5255 and annoymous information can be left with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.