Kieran Bicheno

Boy, 9, armed himself with Nerf gun against thief

A 9-year-old Hamilton boy hid in his room armed with a Nerf gun as a thief took his birthday present while his mum was out.

Sam Wigzell's new PlayStation, a laptop and games were taken on Sunday afternoon.

His mother, Renee Lawson, was out getting groceries just after midday, leaving Sam at home with a flatmate who lives in a garden sleepout.

She had taken her younger son with her to get petrol and bread and was only gone for a matter of minutes when the thief struck.

"For someone to come in and take [the PlayStation] in front of him is just the worst -- the worst. That's his thing," Lawson said.

Sam, who goes to Woodstock School, suffers bad anxiety and Minecraft helps him relax and calm down when he thinks he's going to have a panic attack.

When Sam saw someone approach he tried his best to keep him out, Lawson said.

"As soon as he saw that man coming he ran around and locked all the doors, but he missed one.

"He ran up to his room and loaded up his Nerf guns and waited for the man, basically.

"The man went up to his room and said, 'why didn't you answer the door -- is there anyone else here'."

Sam told him their flatmate was there, out in the sleepout no more than five to ten metres away.

The man, described by Sam as having dark hair and skin and wearing a grey top, black pants and carrying a blue bag, took his PlayStation and Lawson's work laptop while the he hid in his room.

When he heard the Minecraft music stop, Sam knew his PlayStation was gone.

When his mum returned not long after, Sam was "beside himself".

"He just ran into my arms like 'the man took my PlayStation'," Lawson said.

"He'd taken the work laptop as well -- that's ok that can be replaced. Even the PlayStation -- it's not the things that matter it's the safety and Sam ... and the guilt. That weighs on me, it's huge."

Lawson said when her sons weren't in school or after-school care, she tried to be with them all the time.

"I'm always here, I've always got my boys with me -- that's my job."

Hurtful Facebook comments about her parenting had been difficult to read after the story was picked up by national media, but Lawson said that was balanced out by the kindness shown by others.

The Breeze radio station had come by to drop off a new PlayStation today and Sam now thought of himself as "the PlayStation kid".

Sam and his brother weren't left too shaken by the ordeal, but Lawson said she felt spooked by the whole experience.

"Sam said to me statistically they're not going to come back to the same house twice. Which he's right, I think, but for me I jump and freak out -- every bump, every noise, every light that goes on."

- NZ Herald

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