After you read this news report, I think you’ll agree that the young man described here is pretty remarkable – and the good news is that he has helped police take one more serial burglar off the streets. His actions required presence of mind and courage, and our hero demonstrated both. Here’s the story, from Santa Rosa, California.
Twelve-year-old Branden Jones was home from school with a stuffy nose Wednesday morning when there was a knock at the door. His uncle had just left their Rincon Valley house near Santa Rosa to run a short errand, so he was alone. Branden peeked out the window and saw a stranger at the door. Something wasn’t right about the woman, who was wearing a red jacket, jeans and blue Ugg boots.
What Branden Did Right
“She was looking around, and kind of nervous,” said Branden, a sixth grader at Austin Creek Elementary School. Frightened, he retreated down the hall toward his parents’ room. That’s when he heard the front door open — it had been left unlocked. “I went into Mom and Dad’s room and slammed the door,” he said. After some tense moments, he peeked out to see the woman scurrying out the front door — carrying his laptop computer.
What Happened Next
Branden ran back to his room, where he keeps a muzzle-loading rifle, a gift from his granddad. The old-fashioned firearm was unloaded, but he figured it would scare the intruder. Then he went to a window and watched the woman drive away in a white car. “I tried to see what she looked like the best I could,” Branden said. Then he spotted the license plate number and typed it into his cellphone.
Police Jump on the Case
He dialed 911 after calling his mom at work. Branden was shaken when deputies came to the house to talk to him, said Sonoma County sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Raasch. The license plate number came back to a Santa Rosa woman named Karen Holman, who pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree burglary and one of possession of stolen property in a 2009 case, earning a prison sentence, Raasch said.
Long Arm of the Law
On Wednesday, a deputy saw Holman driving near Maria Carrillo High School at about 3:15 p.m. with her 16-year-old daughter in the car, pulled her over and arrested her, authorities said. The daughter, who was not reported to have taken part in the burglary, was told that she could leave, but then began walking away with the laptop. The teen was arrested for suspected possession of stolen property and booked into Sonoma County Juvenile Hall. Holman was arrested for suspected burglary and receipt of stolen property, both felonies.
A Proud Father
On Thursday, Branden’s dad Richard Jones said he’s proud of the boy. “I think he did everything perfectly,” he said. Branden showed quick thinking when he looked for the license plate, his father said. “He got every number, in order,” Jones said. “I’m happy it turned out the way it did.”
I’ve written often on the dangers of confronting burglars in the home, and agree with Branden’s dad: this one did end well. This story also demonstrates several recurring points about residential crime in the US:
- Burglaries are more likely to happen during the day. The “door knock” ploy is very common.
- Burglars are often serial intruders, and after serving time in jail, often return to old ways – sometimes even the same house.
- If you see a burglar, the best course of action is gather all the information you can, and leave the rest to the police. Do not confront them.
Remember, Branden just happened to be home alone that day. The best peace of mind still comes from a monitored alarm system – preferably one with safer cellular monitoring, the only kind FrontPoint sells. With a burglary happening every 14 seconds somewhere in the US, you want the best protection for your peace of mind. Along with cellular monitoring, add in our industry-best interactive features, and you can see why FrontPoint is the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked home alarm company in the US. When you are ready for safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat, FrontPoint is your clear choice. Then you’ll be ready – for the random first-time burglar, or the seasoned professional.