On the way to work this morning I was listening to the radio giving an account of a home invasion. I missed where it took place but following that story they told of a break-in in Ohio where a 13 year old girl, home sick from school, hid under her bed while some burglars ransacked the house. It ended happily because the girl called and sent text messages to her mom who called 911. And these stories reminded me of this crazy story that happened here in Utah a few months ago:
A woman hiding in a closet from burglars was shocked when they opened the doors — not once but twice — and never saw her.
The 911 tape from the incident runs for about 13 minutes. It felt like forever to the young woman hiding in the closet in her West Jordan home. But she had a calm, collected 911 operator helping her through it.
“Please hurry,” 21-year-old Brittney said during the 911 call. The operator asked, “Can you hear anybody downstairs?” Brittney answered, “Yes.”
Brittney made the call yesterday. Police say three men rang her doorbell, and when no one answered they let themselves in. The intruders smashed in the window, climbed inside and headed upstairs to see what they could find, all while Brittney was home.
“It’s almost surreal. I can’t even comprehend the feelings,” Brittney told us today.
As the burglars got closer, she hid in an upstairs closet. At one point on the 911 recording, the burglars are heard arranging for a ride. “You get closer yet by chance? Because we’ll be ready in like, maybe 10 minutes,” one of them said.
John Fitisemanu was the operator on the other end of the 911 call. “It got pretty intense at times during the call,” he told us.
One of the burglars, looking for stuff to steal, opened the closet where Brittney was hiding. “I was just standing right there. He pushed it open and was bumping into my legs, my boots,” she said.
Fitisemanu is heard on the 911 tape telling Brittney, “I do have some officers in the backyard and on the corners of your house.”
The burglars spotted police and scrambled. One jumped into the bedroom closet, inches from Brittney. “He was standing right there. I could have kissed his cheek if I’d stood on my tippy toes,” she said.
She stayed still and silent until officers entered the bedroom. Then Brittney said, “He’s in here!” Police ordered him out of the closet. “He looked at me with a completely dumbfounded expression, like, ‘Where’d she come from?'” Brittney explained.
The three were taken into custody without further problems. Today Brittney met John, the man who kept her calm during those tense minutes.
“I felt OK. Being on the phone with someone helped,” she said.
The suspects, Adam Cloward, Jake Hampton and Tony Cone, are in jail on charges of aggravated burglary, theft and criminal mischief. Police say they found two knives and brass knuckles on the suspects.
Brittney says she feels incredibly lucky. She chose not to give us her last name for this story.
Now this is an amazing story and thank goodness it had a happy ending. And in no way do I want to lessen the seriousness this girl was in. Maybe because it ended well I allow myself this one chuckle. When I’m at home visiting my mom, I have found that I really enjoy jumping out from around the corner and startling my unsuspecting mother. Is this cruel? Yes. Is her reaction funny? Yes. So, it’s a toss up and I lean toward the funny. It began innocently enough when I would walk into her room and call out her name to ask her a question and being completely unaware she would give such a reaction that I just couldn’t resist from then on. Sorry mom, but really you have only yourself to blame.
So, I can’t help but think of how funny it probably was (in hindsight of course!) when this girl yelled out with the burglar, adrenaline pumping from the prospect of cops raiding the house, standing mere inches away. I bet he piddled in his pants just a little.