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Bat man strikes back

A Masterton man took matters – and a baseball bat – into his own hands when he discovered a trespasser on his property on Saturday night after several thefts in the neighbourhood.

“I was already on edge because there had been a burglar, then I see him outside my window outside my boy’s room,” Lansdowne resident Bradley Churchward told the Times-Age.

“I approached him and held my bat and said, ‘Hey [swear word], you better stop robbing houses around here.

“I’ve got two old ladies on either side of me who are nearly in tears because they can’t sleep at night – I can’t sleep last night – all because someone wants to take a wallet or tools.”

Churchward’s Wavell Cr neighbour, David Bray, had CCTV footage of a man walking around his property the previous night at about 6pm while Churchward’s fourteen-year-old son was home alone.

The man broke into Bray’s car and stole a wallet containing $400, and there were three other break-ins in the area that evening, Churchward said.

As a result, Churchward was on high alert the next evening when he spotted a stranger on his property at about 10pm.

“About one hundred times I looked out my window. There he was walking up my footpath, a black thing around his face, right under my boy’s bedroom window, so I just grabbed my baseball bat and ran outside,” Churchward said.

“He put his hand in his pocket, and I thought he was grabbing a knife or something, so I just whacked him a couple of times in the leg, and he ran off.

“I am not telling people to go and do what I did, but my son needs my protection.”

Churchward said the police arrived soon after, having been alerted by a concerned neighbour who had heard the “commotion”.

Bray, who lives a few houses down from Churchward, captured CCTV footage of both incidents and said that although the man’s face was masked, he assumed it was the same person.

Although he generally feels safe in the neighbourhood, Bray said he’d had the camera installed for “peace of mind.”

“You don’t know who’s wandering around your place – if we hadn’t gone through the footage, we wouldn’t have known it had happened.”

Wairarapa Police senior sergeant and area response manager Gareth Barnes confirmed that police responded to reports of a person acting suspiciously on Wavell Cr.

“Police also learnt that this person was assaulted by one of the residents with a baseball bat before getting away,” Barnes said.

“While people have the right to defend their property under the Crime Act 1961, it must not be excessive in terms of force.

“It is important to note that both individuals are under investigation for their alleged actions.

“Police would like to encourage the victim of this assault to please come forward to assist with the investigation.”

Barnes noted that CCTV footage of the incident has been circulated on social media and emphasised that police do
not condone the actions
the footage shows.

“For safety reasons, people who encounter suspicious people, cars, or situations should keep their distance and contact police on 111 immediately,” he said.

“Previous incidents have shown that a weapon can be taken off someone and used against them.”

If you have any information relating to this incident, please contact police on 105 or report online, quoting the reference number P059065515.


  1. Both individuals under investigation?? . It’s well known that police 🚔 are under staffed and criminals know this. If someone was on your property with a mask 😷 on YOU SHOULD ASK THE PERSON TO SIT DOWN SO YOU CAN CALL THE POLICE 🚔. TO HIT THE PERSON ON THE 🦵 WHEN HE WENT TO PUT HIS 👋 IN HIS POCKET. BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. LEAVE HIM ALONE NO CHARGING

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