A 75-year-old woman had her hands bound by a burglar at her home near Okehampton.
Devon and Cornwall Police said it was uncertain how the intruder entered the property in the village of Sticklepath on Wednesday evening.
The woman managed to escape from her home and alerted neighbours about the burglary.
Officers said the woman is being cared for, and they are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.
A police spokesperson said: "We would like to reassure the public that this type of crime is very unusual in this area."