14 Mar After the Break-In
What Happened During our Home Invasion
It has definitely taken me time to heal and feel comfortable again in our home after the break-in. The guy that broke into our house and that I also encountered when I walked into my master bathroom during the robbery was a meth addict that was searching to steal valuables for he and his accomplice to sell and buy more drugs.
Thankfully, a few days after the break-in, both of the men were found and arrested. Knowing these guys are in jail for approximately 7 years, I feel a little less anxiety and feel more free to go about my normal life. I was going to launch my blog in August, but after the break-in, I didn’t feel safe enough to launch it until I found out the news of the men’s sentencing. I am still not positive if our home was a target or if we were a target somehow, but the police questioned the two guys and they did not give the police any information that would suggest that we were.
Our exterior security cameras showed the guy checking all of our doors in the back of our house and courtyard. He stopped to drink an entire bottle of water and went to our outdoor trash cans, looked in them, and then walked to the back of our property to throw the bottle in the woods. He picked up a rock and then walked back up to our courtyard where he tried to open the windows and even took the time to take the screens off and halfway put them back on. He continued to walk around casing our home for approximately 20 minutes and then decided to break a window on the side of our house.
I had my youngest dog, Trooper, with me running a couple of errands and stopping by the veterinarian’s office for dog food and medication. When we drove back up to our house it was a little past 1pm. I saw no signs of a break-in and never thought twice to unlock our back door and proceed into our home. Trooper went to the back yard to go out and he probably smelled this guy’s scent in our yard.
I put my house keys on the laundry room counter and then continued to walk into my closet putting my handbag down on my ottoman which had my car key inside. I saw drawers open in my closet and things thrown on the floor. I heard noises from my husband’s closet and continued to walk through the bathroom to his closet thinking Bart was trying to find something. I had no reason to believe someone was in our house and didn’t know someone was about to walk out of Bart’s closet and approach me in the master bathroom.
I was without anything but my phone in my hand talking to my parents at the time. The robber came out of Bart’s closet and started walking towards me. I still thought Bart was home. We had talked about calling the plumber about the shower handle and seriously thought that this guy was the plumber and Bart had parked in the front and let the plumber in. I asked the guy ‘Who he was’ and ‘What are you doing’ and he did not answer me back. I noticed he had acne on his face and then the gloves and the bag he was holding. I began to panic because he wasn’t talking back to me and then I literally froze and just screamed POLICE, POLICE, POLICE because nothing else was coming out and I think I was trying to warn my parents who were still on the phone that something was wrong.
He reached his arm out at me and began to come forward towards me to grab me and said WAIT, WAIT. I walked backwards through my closet into my laundry room and slammed the laundry room door in his face.
Fox 6 WBRC News link
I was able to get away from him and close the laundry door as he came after me. I held the laundry room door against him as he was trying to push it open. I then felt the door not being pushed anymore and turned around and ran out our back door to our carport area. My male dog, Trooper, who is protective of me was in the back yard and heard me screaming and ran into the laundry room growling as I was running out. I grabbed his collar and pulled him out the back door with me and did not let him go in.
As I was doing this, I was trying to figure out how to hang up on my parents because my mind had gone blank and had accidentally flipped the screen to something else when I was trying to get away from the robber. I was panicking . I never said what was going on to my parents that were still on the phone, I finally figured out how to end the call, hung up on my parents and pressed ‘Mtn Brook Police Dept’ that I have saved to my “Favorites” screen on my phone. I was so panicked that I could not even think to dial 911.
My parents heard everything and did not know the extent of the situation but knew from my voice I was in trouble. They weren’t sure if I would be able to call the police and wanted to get help to me and called their local police department in Dothan. Dothan connected them to Mountain Brook Police. Our Police Department gave them information that I was on the line with them and police were already dispatched.
I have thought about that scenario over and over since then. I knew if I had let Trooper in the house, he would have attacked the robber, but then I knew this guy could have had a gun and or another weapon and hurt or even killed Trooper and I would have never forgiven myself. My 14 year old female dog, Sweet Pea, was inside the home when the robber broke in and she possibly may not have even heard him. I was so thankful that the guy did not hurt her. As I was running out of the house, I thought the worst about Sweet Pea. I was frantic as I was talking to the policeman on the phone. He told me to get away from the house, but I went into our courtyard to look in the windows to see if I could see Sweet Pea.
The policeman asked me not to re-enter the house. Somehow, I thought to grab my house keys on the way out of the laundry room that I had left on the counter. As I was in the courtyard, I saw Sweet Pea walking through our family room and went against the policeman’s wishes on the phone and quickly opened the door to let her out in the courtyard with me. I continued to run from our courtyard to our basement cellar to see if he was exiting either of these locations.
I had no idea when I encountered the robber how he had broken in or if there were others with him. The Police were at our home very quickly and the SWAT team was so thorough checking every corner of our home to make sure no one was still inside the home. Since I did not know at the time how he broke in or how he exited, the police had to make sure the robber or others were not still in the home somewhere.
Once the SWAT team searched our home and property, we were able to walk through our home with the detectives and police force and see the damage. The guy left behind two water bottles that he drank in my closet and also left behind blood in various parts of our house. He obviously cut himself after breaking the window and having to pull himself up and drag his body into the our home.
I thank Mountain Brook Police Department for everything they did that day and the days after to catch who was involved. It put my mind more at ease when Police were able to find and arrest the two men. The police were able to return some costume jewelry and a few handbags to me, but sadly, I did not get back all of my jewelry and may never see the most meaningful family jewelry pieces again. My jewelry safe was unlocked and I had not secured it back that day the robber broke in. It is heartbreaking that I did not lock it back and I have truly learned a valuable lesson.
Within a week, I broke out in Shingles. I debated posting this picture of my shingles, but it was such a bad case. It started on my back and wrapped around my front rib cage. It took over a month of medications to get it under control. I took my first round of a 2-round Shingle treatment at the beginning of this year so that it may help prevent getting the Shingles again. Usually, a Shingles vaccine is recommended by CDC for healthy adults age 50 and older.
Since the break-in, we have added more to our already updated security system with glass break sensors all throughout our home, eight additional outdoor cameras, additional indoor cameras and another ring camera. I would love to have gates installed on our driveway because many people drive thru our driveway and even look in our home. I feel like the two guys may have driven through our driveway prior to the break-in and knew we had a ring camera on our front door and decided to avoid going to the front door. We did not have a ring camera on our back door at the time, but do now. With our security camera footage, we knew the robber walked up our back drive-way and never went to the front door.
Fox 6 WBRC News link
Since being part of reality show, Jersey Belle, in 2014, a few strange things happened at our previous home beginning with a group of girls rolling our front yard, along with glitter, latex gloves and plastic forks, then people parking in our driveway and even getting out of their car to look in our windows to see inside including a time two ladies rang my doorbell and then when I didn’t answer, they looked in the windows by the front door and walked to the side of the house and look in different parts of our home. AND the most memorable of them all was New Year’s eve of 2015, a masked naked guy entered our breezeway and looked in our windows. CRAZY, right!
About 15 years ago, my handbag was stolen from me in downtown Birmingham. It was in a well-lit area at night as I walked to my car, but I was looking for my keys in my handbag and wasn’t aware of my surroundings. A guy came up behind me and grabbed my bag and ran. I turned around screaming and ran after him. Ironically, a police station was a block away from this area and police heard me screaming and then saw the guy running away from me. The police chased after the guy calling other units to come and help. Eventually, a police K-9 unit caught him. The police said he had a gun on him but ended up being a fake gun.
Personal & Home Safety
I have received many messages and questions on the break-in: how it happened, how should you protect yourself and your home better, personal safety, self-defense, etc. I appreciate the many people that have reached out to ask how I am doing and also thankful to help so many others to better protect themselves.
Tips / Takeaways
- lock all doors at home & set home alarm if you have one
- put keys in safe place that not everyone can locate
- put valuables in a locked safe that is hidden; if you don’t have a safe, hide valuables in an uncommon spot
- know where a weapon is that could help protect you if approached. It doesn’t have to be gun…pepper spray, scissors, knife, bat, hammer, etc
- don’t walk to your car looking down at your phone, etc.
- lock your car doors as soon as you get in the car
- keep valuables out of your car, especially your car key
I get comfortable in my home and surroundings and these life-changing incidents have made me be more aware and more prepared. Hopefully this will help others to better protect themselves in your home and away from home and be safer!
I don’t want to be in a situation like the above again and not be prepared to defend myself. God has definitely had His Hand protecting me. I am very thankful for his Grace. I hope to take a self-defense class soon in April and will update you!