Police are telling people targeted by handbag thieves just let go of their bag if it is taken, after a woman was dragged behind a car during an attempted robbery.
Counties Manukau East CIB is investigating seven handbag snatches in the East Auckland area this month.
Young men in stolen cars have targeted women in shopping centre carparks where one of the occupants of the vehicle will jump out, grab the handbag, run back to the stolen car and flee the scene.
In the latest incident on 19 December, the woman held not her bag when a man tried to take it and was dragged about 20 metres to his stolen getaway car.
Police say she was dragged again when the car took off.
There have been other bag snatches at the Chapel Road and Meadowlands shopping centres, and in Flatbush and Pakuranga.
"Our concerns are that the level of violence that the offenders use could escalate very quickly, meaning there is a very real risk of a victim being seriously injured," said Detective Sergeant Glenn Wilkinson.
"I'd like to get the message across to the community that if you are targeted in this type of attack, you should not try to hang on to your bag. Just let it go, ring 111, and make a note of any descriptions of vehicles and offenders."
In September, Auckland woman Lucy Knight suffered a skull fracture and bleeding on the brain when she intervened in a bagsnatch attempt.
Her 17-year old attacker will be sentenced in court next year.