Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Suspected Robber Turns Out to be Roomba in Comical Police Breach-And-Clear

burglar - robber - intruder
Burglar entering to house trough balcony window

*Renting and home ownership are filled with their own respective pros and cons. Regardless of the status of owner or renter, nobody wants unwanted visitors in their place of residence.

The Chicago Tenant Landlord Ordinance requires landlords to give a 48-hour notice before entering an apartment or home rental.

Homeowners may not have to deal with such things, but burglaries transcend spaces and burglars don’t have much prejudice when it comes to an ideal target residence.

How often has your own technology caused a scare? Here’s one: In 2017, American smartphone owners broke more than 50 million phone screens, costing them somewhere around $3.5 billion in repairs. That’s almost two broken screens every second. You know the panic you feel when that device slips out of your hand, descending toward the merciless ground.

An Oregon woman learned a different technological fear when she was house sitting and called authorities to report an in progress break-in. She said that she could hear rustling in the bathroom and that the door was locked. She presumed the burglar was caught mid-robbery, panicked, and locked themselves in the bathroom.

Police responded quickly and set a perimeter around the house. Several deputies entered the house and swept it with the assistance of a K-9 officer. Upon reaching the bathroom barricaded burglar, they advised that they come out of the bathroom with their hands up. They could see shadows under the door and hear the similar rustling that the house sitter initially reported, but the suspect wouldn’t respond and wouldn’t comply with their commands.

The Roomba robotic vacuum

After a few requests, they breached the bathroom door and cornered the sequestered suspect with guns drawn. The burglar turned out to be a Roomba. The robotic vacuum cleaner had gotten trapped in the bathroom and continued vacuuming the same small space for quite a while. More than 70% of workplaces use video surveillance to keep track of their employees, but the house sitter forgot about a very important member of her personal staff while on the job. Poor Roomba, just doing what it’s programmed to do. This revelation caused more than a few laughs from the officers and the house sitter alike.

“…2:13 pm: Deputy Rogers clears the call with the following note, ‘As we entered the home we could hear ‘rustling’ in the bathroom. We made several announcements and the ‘rustling’ became more frequent. We breached the bathroom door and encountered a very thorough vacuuming job being done by a Roomba Robotic Vacuum cleaner,’ the Washington County Sherriff’s Office reported in a Facebook post.

The post quickly went viral, racking up over a couple thousand likes and shares on Facebook, as well as getting some national attention. The post includes a picture of the suspect, who doesn’t look very apologetic for causing such a humorous fright. Sure, buying Energy Star appliances may save you 10% to 50% on energy use versus regular appliances, but who can put a price on not having to vacuum your own house? It’s priceless and so it’s equally priceless that the automated floor cleaner would become a suspected burglar merely while doing a job we dislike. Either way, no one was harmed, the case was closed, and now this particular house sitter knows to keep an eye out for the automated vacuum before phoning the police.

But, hey, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Even if the suspect was merely cleaning your carpets.





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