A recently laid off WaMu employee happened to be at home when a pair of burglars broke into his house. His wife was working, his son was in daycare and he was in the basement.
Just after 1:30 PM, while doing some work around the house, Patrick Rosario thought he heard a knock at his front door. Before he could respond, he then heard a loud noise. He quietly walked up the stairs and was able to peek out of the cellar door, which was cracked open about an inch.
He saw an unknown person walking around and heard the noises of at least another person going through the house collecting his valuables.
Rosario had a cell phone on him, and immediately called 911. He was able to sneak out the backdoor undetected, and arm himself with a hammer before he made it to the front of his house. Hiding behind his garbage can, Rosario was able to peek around the corner and see what was going on. He still had the 911 dispatcher on the phone.
Apparently, while the burglars were busy going through the home, they left their Ford Windstar van running out front. Assuming the burglars expected a quick getaway, Rosario hopped in the van through the unlocked door, and drove away.
He figured the guys ransacking his home would be too busy to notice, and even if they did, they would not be able to catch him on foot. He drove to a friend’s house a few block and waited for the police.
“I kept a pretty cool head,” Rosario said. “You never know how you’re going to react until you’re in that situation.”
Back at the house, a witness across the street later reported that two men exiting the house “looked back… and appeared startled.”
Dude, Where’s my Van?
“I wish I could have seen the look on their faces,” Rosario said.
The two burglars fled the scene and left a couple of flat-screen TVs, game consoles, laptop and a jewelry box by the front door.
Some of the responding officers were quite amused at the details of this attempted burglary. “Two pulled up, and they looked over at me and go, ‘You stole their car — way to go, dude. That’s awesome.’ Another told me that I just made her month.” says Rosario.
Rosario acted against the 911 dispatcher’s advice, and local authorities wouldn’t officially comment if Rosario’s actions were advisable. “We expect responsible adults to make their own decisions,” he said. “Clearly, this worked in this case, but in another case it might not have.”
Even Rosario realized the events could have unfolded differently. If the break in occurred at the same time a day earlier, he would have been napping in the bedroom with his 2-year-old son. “I would have been trapped in my bedroom,” he said.
Luckily things worked out for Patrick this time, but now if anything happens again, he is better prepared.
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