One of the scariest criminal experiences one can face is an armed burglary. One second you're safe at home, the next second you're feeling completely violated. Your safety is in jeopardy, and someone with a weapon has made an active choice to enter your home to take something from you.
In those situations, you'd hope that if you weren't able to get to a phone and call the police, that someone else would. Maybe a neighbor would see it all go down through a window and call for help on your behalf. It's what a good neighbor is for, after all. Neighbors should look out for each other.
While it may be better to be safe than sorry when you think something suspicious is happening, calling in a burlgarly when a burglary isn't actually happening can be pretty embarrassing. That's especially true in this story, where a house guest ended up calling the cops on a vacuum cleaner.
A Crime in Broad Daylight
It was broad daylight in Cedar Hills, Oregon, about 7 miles outside of Portland, when the police got a frantic call from someone staying at their friend's house. It's certainly true that a crime can break out at any time of day, but this call was for someone breaking and entering. Breaking and entering in broad daylight can be risky, but not uncommon. A house guest at a home had called because they had heard noises inside the house. There was a lot of rustling and banging coming from inside a locked bathroom. Sg. Danny DiPietro, a sheriff's spokesman told NPR that the calls deserved an urgent response.
He told NRP, "The man had just gone for a walk with his nephew's dog and when he came back, he could see shadows moving back and forth under the bathroom door."
The Culprit was a Roomba
The police department took the call very seriously. They sent out three of their most seasoned deputies. One of them had more than 20 years of experience. Along with the three deputies, a detective who just so happened to be around at the time, and two canine units showed up. They were expecting the worst. According to DiPietro, "the whole time they were yelling, 'Sheriff' and 'Police' but the burglar wouldn't come out. He wouldn't say anything." The police went in with their guns drawn.
As they got closer, the burglar made louder and louder sounds, as if banging on glass. This made the officers think that the burglar was trying to escape. They needed to act immediately, so on the count of three, they kicked in the door and were shocked to find the culprit. It was nothing more than a Roomba vacuum.
All's Well that Ends Well
According to DiPietro, the entire squad couldn't help but laugh. "It was just this little round machine, slamming against the glass [shower] wall...Everyone just started cracking up. It was such huge relief because it's the kind of situation that could go either way. It could end peacefully or ... No one had any idea what was waiting for them behind the door but they definitely didn't expect that."
Although the house guest who made the call felt bad for having all of those officers come out just for a vacuum, they felt he did the right thing. DiPietro said, "But I would have done the exact same thing if I was visiting someone and didn't know there was a robot vacuum cleaner that was set to go off on its own. And even the responding officers, when they saw the shadow under the door and the sound of someone trying to get out ... well, they fell for it too."
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