A stay-at-home mum is in shock after she says a stranger lunged into her car and tried to yank her keys from the ignition.
Mum-of-five Nelle Burrows was heading home after doing some shopping about 6.45pm on Tuesday when she turned onto Malfroy Rd.
Burrows said she had to pull over after she realised her door light was on.
"My seatbelt had got stuck in the door, so I pulled over."
While opening her door to pull in her seatbelt, Burrows said a man appeared out of the darkness and yanked open her car door.
"He came out of nowhere.
"He lunged in and started to yank my keys out of the ignition.
"I just started pulling on the door and I must have slammed it on to his head or something because he jumped back and started swearing at me."
The moment the man was clear of the car, Burrows said she shut her door and locked it.
"I put my foot down and just got home."
Burrows said she was in shock from the incident.
"I just walked in the door and started cooking dinner. I don't think I really thought about what had happened."
It was only once her husband heard what happened that Burrows said she thought to call the police.
She reported the incident that night.
When Burrows spoke to the Rotorua Daily Post on Thursday she had yet to give her statement to the police but said she had an appointment to do so today..
"He didn't hurt me. He didn't take anything. But mentally it did hurt," Burrows said.
"Since then I have been really hesitant about going out.
"I suffered from anxiety anyway and I had just got to a point where I wasn't continuously locking my door and windows. Now that has all come back."
Burrows said the incident had made her nervous to go out with her children.
"We moved to Rotorua from Whakatāne about three years ago and we have never had an issue.
"People have been really good to us."
In her view, Burrows said the rising cost of living was causing people to act out of character.
"You just don't know what anyone is going through," Burrows said.
"[That night] it was really dark. It was really scary. He came out of nowhere.
"What he did was terrible but I understand he must have been desperate."
Burrows said she understood people were struggling.
"Something has to change. I feel like we need more protection in Rotorua and people need help."
Burrows said she wanted to share her story to raise awareness and to give the unknown man a chance.
"Maybe he will see the story and he will realise I am a person with a name.
"He could have a conscience. He might apologise."
When asked for an update on their investigation of the incident, a police spokesperson said inquiries were ongoing.