WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Every family fears having their home broken into, but one Wilmington family went though something worse. Their 10-year-old son walked into the house while two people were still ransacking the home making him a victim of two crimes.
The neighborhood on White Road is quiet for the most part, but Tuesday afternoon that was not the case. The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office says two people broke into a home in broad daylight. What happened next would scare any parent.
"My youngest son encountered the guys that were in our home when he got off the bus from school," Ray Cockrell said. "He's a trooper. He was brave. He was not hurt. He was not harmed."
Ten-year-old Mason ran out the home, but the burglars chased him down, forcing him back in as they continued to look through the home before running away themselves.
Ray Cockrell says the thieves snatched a few items, including a rifle. Investigators later found the items in a creek behind the home.
"You hear about these things happening to other people. You never expect this to happen to your family," Cockrell said.
The Cockrells' neighbors are shocked to hear a crime like this can hit so close to home. They are taking extra precautions to make sure they stay safe and that this doesn't happen to anyone else in the neighborhood.
"It does put you on alert a little bit," neighbor Allison Mason said. "We just use caution getting home, looking, making sure everything outside looks normal before I went in just 'cause I know they broke-in through a window."
The Sheriff's Office says the home break-in is not the only recent crime off of White Road. There have been several vehicles broken into, as well. Investigators have been busy collecting information on those crimes, but say in many of the car break-ins the doors were unlocked.
As for the Cockrells, they say there is much to learn from what happened Tuesday.
"Your family is all you have; your family and your home, so don't take for granted those things and make sure you appreciate them," Ray Cockrell said.
The Sheriff's Office has not released a description of the two suspects who broke into the Cockrells' home, but investigators hope to make an arrest soon.
They advise everyone out there to take simple precautions like locking up your car and home.