Bag-snatchers linked to two separate assaults in Hawke's Bay had a young child in their getaway car, according to local police.
The incidents happened within 30 minutes of each other in Taradale and Napier on Saturday and involved two women - described as Māori or Pacific Islanders - attempting to steal handbags.
In Taradale, a woman in her 60s was assaulted but members of the public were able to intervene, while in Napier a tourist had her bag stolen.
In both cases, the offenders took off in a maroon-coloured sedan driven by a man, with a child about six years old also seen in the vehicle, the police said.
They were asking anyone with information about either attack to contact them.
There was a risk of serious injury when offenders tried to snatch handbags, and they advised victims to let go and call 111 immediately, they said.