Calgary mother distressed after thieves ransack 10-year-old son's room

A recent victim of a home robbery says the emotional damage inflicted by the crime is far more painful than the loss of the value of the items, especially on her 10-year-old son. Police say property crimes have increased over the last year.

Break-in causes emotional distress to 10-year-old already suffering from anxiety disorder

Meredith Hendriks' house was broken into while she was visiting family on New Year's Eve, but the event had terrible consequences for her 10-year-old suffering from an anxiety disorder. 1:39

A Calgary woman says discovering nearly every room in her house ripped apart by thieves on New Year's Eve has caused emotional damage for her and her son.

Meredith Hendrik's southwest home was broken into while the pair were away on vacation. Thieves made off with items like electronics, jewelry and medication, but Hendriks said her son is devastated after his things were rifled through.

Hendriks, a single mother, says her son has been diagnosed with an anxiety order because of chronic health issues

Meredith Hendriks said her son is emotionally rattled on top of a pre-existing chronic anxiety disorder. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

"Leave the kid's stuff alone, that's just not necessary to go in and ransack a 10-year-old boy's bedroom."

She says the thieves stole his piggy bank and tossed what she calls his "tool box" — a collection of paper cut-outs developed by a psychologist to help him manage anxiety — all over the floor.

"He was like, 'mom, I don't care about the stuff. It's not about the stuff. I don't feel safe. I never feel safe and now I can't go home,'" said Hendriks.

Her son is staying with relatives while she cleans up the mess.

Meredith Hendriks worries her son is further traumatized after his personal items were torn through during a break-in on New Year's Eve. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Hendriks has filed a police report and is now dealing with her insurance company.

Calgary police say there has been a 60 per cent increase in house break and enters from 2014 to 2015. But she said crimes like these don't speak to the personal impact on families affected by the crime. 

"It's not just stuff, it's my son's kind of security," said Hendriks, "I feel worried that I'm not going to be able to get him to feel at home here again."

Meredith Hendriks says her 10 -year-old son doesn't feel safe at home after thieves tore through his belongings. He had already been receiving treatment for a chronic anxiety disorder. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)