A small business owner says she has "lost everything" after a horrific midnight carjacking outside her Warrawong home last month.
Heather Colvin said she built her specialised cleaning business for NDIS participants from the ground up two years ago.
The single mother had only owned her second-hand ute for two weeks when she was loading it with supplies in late February, before an armed person turned her life upside down.
"I went out to my car to make sure it had everything it needed for the next day," Ms Colvin said.
"I had the key in my hand and someone came up behind me and put a knife to my throat. They pushed me to the side and took my keys and the next thing I know they drove off."
I was left in shock on the grass watching.- Heather Colvin
Ms Colvin called triple-0 and detectives arrived shortly after. Witnesses saw the vehicle driving towards Primbee, Ms Colvin said, and police seized it for forensic examination.
Officers only recently informed Ms Colvin that the ute had been totalled in an early morning joyride.
"The bumper was completely gone ... the whole front is gone," Ms Colvin said. "I've lost everything."
A person has been charged and the matter is before the court.
The long-time Warrawong resident, who was also the victim of a home robbery two years ago, believes crime is rampant in the suburb, leaving her feeling unsafe and unable to sleep properly.
"It's been ruthless around Warrawong," Ms Colvin said.
"We have people involved in crime rampages who keep getting bail on top of bail on top of bail. How do we fix the problem that we have if there are no consequences for their actions?
"People just keep taking and taking from people."
Ms Colvin said she had taken out insurance on the vehicle, however hadn't made her first payment which was due two weeks after the carjacking - and was unable to make a claim.
Desperate to return to work, she has set up an online fundraiser to help get her back on her feet and replace the ute.
"I'm sitting in a house full of cleaning equipment for a business I can't run," she said.
"I do what I do because it's rewarding ... it lights up people's day when you clean for them."
We've made it a whole lot easier for you to have your say. Our new comment platform requires only one log-in to access articles and to join the discussion on the Illawarra Mercury website. Find out how to register so you can enjoy civil, friendly and engaging discussions. Sign up for a subscription here.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.