Summer Stevens with Andrew and Calvin Rayer are devastated that the Christmas lights they put up were stolen but also thankful that Andrew is okay after he collapsed giving chase to the thieves.
Summer Stevens with Andrew and Calvin Rayer are devastated that the Christmas lights they put up were stolen but also thankful that Andrew is okay after he collapsed giving chase to the thieves. Scottie Simmonds

Dad hurt chasing Christmas crooks

A NORTH Bundaberg family is in shock after their dad collapsed while chasing thieves who stole the Christmas lights from their house.

The family was celebrating their daughter's 12th birthday on Wednesday night when they heard a bang from the front of their Barber Street property and dad Andrew Rayer went to investigate.

“I saw the wires from our candy cane lights hanging down and someone running off down the street,” Mr Rayer said.

Mr Rayer, who was diagnosed with potentially life-threatening deep-vein thrombosis last year, said his instincts kicked in and he took off running.

“I just thought, you can't do that to my family – they took one of the lights last week and I wasn't having it again,” he said.

He managed to catch up to one of the thieves 600 metres away, but then collapsed on the street with excruciating chest pains while the boy sprinted off.

“I felt woozy and my chest was in agony – I thought I was having a heart attack,” Mr Rayer said.

“I didn't know if the blood clot had moved, or what was going on. I just couldn't breathe.”

Mr Rayer called his partner, Rita Weier, who rushed to the scene and took him back to the house, where the police were already waiting after 11-year-old Shane alerted them to the theft.

“He was coughing and clutching his chest, but I gave him some of my asthma puffer and took him home,” Ms Weier said.

“I was talking to the police when (12-year-old) Summer came out and said ‘there's something wrong with Andrew'.”

Instead of getting better, Mr Rayer was now almost unable to breathe, and had collapsed on the floor.

The police helped Ms Weier put her partner into the recovery position and called for an ambulance, which rushed Mr Rayer to Bundaberg Hospital.

After more than four hours of treatment and tests, Mr Rayer was declared well enough to go home, where he joined his devastated family.

“Today we took down all the rest of the decorations because we are so upset,” Ms Weier said.

“We've heard stories about other people who have had their lights taken as well, and something like this just puts you off ever doing it again.”



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