FORT WORTH -- A fifth-grader regaled friends Friday with a story of how he was home alone when thieves broke into the family home and shoved him and his dog into a closet.
Although 11-year-old Adrian Paredes' story ends with him and Bella the Chihuahua safe, Adrian's Christmas gifts and his Xbox and family heirlooms are gone.
"I'm going to pray for them [robbers] because they shouldn't be doing this," Adrian said. "I hope they have a good Christmas with my gifts so they won't steal from anyone else and ruin theirs."
Adrian was on Christmas break Thursday afternoon when someone began knocking on the front door of his Wedgwood home.
He hid and called his mother, Aide Perez, who was at work.
"I said, 'Don't open the door,'" said Perez, 45.
She told her son to peek out a window to confirm that no one was in sight and, when the knocking stopped, the mother and her youngest child hung up. But she immediately tried to call back. The phone rang and rang and rang, her fears escalating with each unanswered call.
What was happening was every mother's nightmare.
Three thieves removed a kitchen window and unlocked the back door. Once inside, they found Adrian hiding under a chair and ordered him to take Bella and get into a closet.
"They asked him where his mom and dad kept the guns and money, and he told them we didn't have any," said Perez, who lives at the home with her fiancé. "They told him he better be telling the truth."
The thieves, who were wearing socks for gloves, unwrapped all the presents under the tree and took only the ones they wanted, including a video game system and a custom skateboard.
They also took a laptop and jewelry, including diamond rings and a gold bracelet handed down to Perez from her mother when she turned 15.
After about 30 minutes, Adrian came out to find the front door open. His cellphone was gone, so he went door to door until he found a neighbor who called police and his mother.
She said her son was incredibly brave and joked that the thieves left behind a Christmas gift of Dallas Cowboys slippers, saying, "I guess they don't like the Cowboys."
Co-workers who learned of the robbery chipped in to replace the skateboard and other gifts.
"God bless them for having such good hearts," Adrian said.
Perez was appreciative but said it still ruined her surprises, as well as her sense of well-being.
Perez said even the dog was traumatized.
"My son covered her mouth to keep her from barking," Perez said. "She's still acting crazy and shaking."
Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367