NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Manhattan middle schooler says he was almost robbed in Hell’s Kitchen.
Things could have turned out worse – if it wasn’t for his mom’s advice and an assist from technology.
CBS2’s Jessica Layton reports the boy was saved from a gang-style ambush by his smartphone.
“I wasn’t thinking about what could happen, just what I could do to protect myself,” 13-year-old Maxwell Wesslock said.
Wesslock is a bright 13-year-old with more street smarts than a bunch of older bullies on bikes would have liked to believe.
The boy says Monday afternoon he was walking to dance class near 48th Street and 11th Avenue when he was surrounded by eight to 10 older teens who tried to rob him.
Maxwell says at first he didn’t see the teens. They were hidden behind some building scaffolding. He says they came around the corner and swarmed him seconds later.
“When the kid grabbed my bag that was the scariest part.”
They may have thought a young teen with an iPhone was an easy target, but Maxwell may very well have saved himself with that smartphone.
“I used this emergency S.O.S. on my phone and it made a siren sound… You press the side button five times and when they heard that he let go and said ‘he called the cops’ and went down two blocks.”
“These groups of teenagers on bicycles are going around harassing people, stealing things, because it’s an easy tactic for them,” the boy’s parent, Melanie Wesslock said.
The mother feels lucky her son wasn’t hurt, but tells CBS2’s Jessica Layton she’s fed up.
In recent months CBS2 has reported on several cases of lawless teens on bikes wreaking havoc throughout the city. Wesslock says not enough is being done to stop it.
“I think the mayor should really be enforcing the laws and cracking down on these gangs of kids going around terrorizing people,” Melanie Wesslock added.
Ultimately they’re both thankful Max knew to use that smartphone feature.
“Good thing mom told you about this,” Layton told the boy.
“Yeah I’m really happy she did,” the teen said.