Homeowner Confronts Burglar – But Burglar Sets Home on Fire after Beating Homeowner

Posted by , , at 3:02 pm

From Texas comes one of the scariest accounts I have read recently – and I see a lot of frightening crime reports and articles. This recent story combines two topics that I post about frequently: homeowners confronting burglars, and home fires. It’s a good that both of these topics rarely come up in the same news report. This time it happened in Rowlett, a northeast suburb of Dallas. While the original news report was short on detail, there is enough to place this story near the top of my “home security nightmare” list.

Police in Rowlett [TX] were searching well into the night Thursday for a man authorities said set a home on fire with a woman and child inside. Authorities said they believe the incident started with a break-in. They believe the suspect, Jeffrey Steele, was in the midst of robbing the home when he was surprised by the homeowner.

Avoid Confronting a Burglar

You’ve heard me say it before: the last thing you want to do is confront an intruder in your home. Too many burglars are motivated to steal by a drug habit, and too many are armed: knowingly confronting an intruder is a prescription for disaster. Sure, some homeowners have beaten the odds – wounding or even killing armed intruders. But do you want a shoot-out in your home? I think not.

Police said when the woman tried to get away, the suspect beat her until she was unconscious. He then grabbed some type of accelerant, lit the home on fire and fled the home with the woman and her infant inside.

What Happened Next

Jake Joplin, a neighbor, said the fire was small when he first spotted it as he was returning home from work. “I went to kick the front door in and I couldn’t, and then I started hearing screaming,” said Joplin. “And I ran to the side of the house and found her son crying. He was okay, and Carrie was passed out.” He found his neighbor badly beaten and her two-year-old son unharmed. He pulled them both to safety as the house erupted into flames.

Two Ways a Home Alarm Can Help

The report suggests the homeowner came home to find the intrusion in process. As I have stated on numerous occasions, a monitored home alarm should have prevented this confrontation – and I am guessing the home did not have one.

And, I suspect the same is true for a monitored fire alarm. The standard home smoke alarm would not have helped in this situation: you have a mom beaten into unconsciousness and her screaming infant in a burning house. It was only an alert neighbor who saved them both, whereas the fire department could have already been on the way, if dispatched in response to a fire alarm signal that most home alarm systems can send. Any good alarm company can advise you on the right kind of fire monitoring equipment to have.

Happy Ending

In this case, everything worked out for the homeowners. Police should eventually catch the perp and send him back to jail (he was an ex-con from the neighborhood). And the victim’s husband was happy as well:

“Her husband is calling me his guardian angel for saving his family,” Joplin said.

What You Can Do

  1. If you ever suspect that a burglar is in your home, just call the police immediately. That is what they are there for.
  2. If you don’t have a monitored home alarm system, get one now. Your only one third as likely to be targeted for crime, and you’ll sleep better – whether you’re home or away.
  3. If you’re one of the 20% of US households that already  has a monitored alarm system, please make sure to include monitored fire protection in your system. Fire monitoring should not add a penny extra to your monthly service charge.

This post is really a “twofer,” since it deals with intrusion protection and fire monitoring in the same context. Of course, FrontPoint is an expert at both – just one more reason why FrontPoint is the #1 ranked home alarm company in the US. And today, homeowners are getting savvier – and are shopping hard for the protection they want, need, and deserve. When you’re ready for a home alarm that’s tsafer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat, you’re ready for FrontPoint: no hidden fees, the best interactive, wireless home alarm technology at the best price, and world-class service. And when you suspect there’s an uninvited guest in your home, please dial 911.

Comments (6)

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  1. Alan

    Wow, pretty crazy, Peter! Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – You are most welcome. I recently posted a follow up, with two more reports on homeowners encountering burglars. In one report, the homeowners surprised the burglars and were shot at. In the second, the homeowner confronted the burglar, who then ran over the homeowner before he called 911. Both situations would have been avoided with a monitored alarm system.

      Thanks again for your regular comments and your long-time loyalty to FrontPoint.

  2. Alan

    Wow, pretty crazy, Peter! Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – You are most welcome. I recently posted a follow up, with two more reports on homeowners encountering burglars. In one report, the homeowners surprised the burglars and were shot at. In the second, the homeowner confronted the burglar, who then ran over the homeowner before he called 911. Both situations would have been avoided with a monitored alarm system.

      Thanks again for your regular comments and your long-time loyalty to FrontPoint.