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Thread: Alexandria resident's scary home invasion story

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    Regular Member IanB's Avatar
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    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...700938_pf.html

    It Takes a Village . . . To Catch a Thief, Too
    Alexandrians Answer Cry for Help When Woman's Home Is Burglarized


    By Brigid Schulte
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, July 8, 2007; C01


    Stephanie Babin was in a deep sleep one night in February, feeling safe in her Alexandria home, her 1-year-old and 4-year-old snuggled tight in her bed, when the squeal of a boot woke her. She opened her eyes to find the shadowy shape of a man less than four feet away, rifling through her dresser.

    She recognized him instantly. Stuart Dean, the man who always seemed to be hanging about her neighborhood, Mount Jefferson Park. She had seen him ride his red-and-black candy-striped bike, held together with duct tape, up and down her block. He told her that he used to live in the neighborhood and always stopped to chitchat when she was on her front porch or gardening.

    She knew he was a petty thief. He would disappear for long stretches, and she figured he was back in jail. When he was around, neighbors' lawn tools seemed to disappear. She thought he was creepy but harmless: "I felt sorry for him."

    Dean wandered into the master bathroom. Babin carefully reached for the cordless phone that was always on her bedside table to call 911. It was not there. She would later find that it, with every other phone and cellphone in the house, her wallet, keys and business cards had been stuffed into Dean's bulging workpants pockets.

    Dean, 53, who had 19 previous convictions, pleaded guilty in Alexandria Circuit Court a couple of weeks ago to burglary, larceny and misdemeanor destruction of property. He could face up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced next month.

    Babin, 41, was the victim of what police call a home invasion, when someone breaks into a home while people are clearly in it. Home invasions are difficult to track because most police departments do not keep separate statistics. "But my impression is, from reading news clippings across the country, is that it is on the rise," said Chris McGoey, a home security expert. Such crimes are audacious and leave victims deeply shaken, McGoey said.

    Babin, part-owner of popular restaurants including Evening Star and Tallula, has replayed the nightmarish Feb. 22 scenario in her mind. The night before had been chaotic, with family members coming and going. She remembers clearly locking the front door before going to bed. But she was so exhausted that when she let her elderly chocolate Labrador retriever, Ellie, out around 4 a.m., she did not realize that she had forgotten to relock the side door. Still, it was behind a six-foot-tall latched fence. She thought she would have been safe.

    She remembers waking an hour later -- her clock read 5:10 a.m. -- to see Dean rummaging around her second-floor bedroom. She tried to be still. "I just lay there panicking, thinking, 'What am I going to do?' " Babin said. With no phone, no way to call 911 and no idea as to Dean's state of mind or what harm he could do, she became convinced that she had to get out of the house to get help.

    But leaving undetected with the two boys in bed and her 6-year-old down the hall would be impossible. So, when Dean wandered up to the attic, she made a split-second decision.

    She tucked the two boys back into her bed, pushed the button on the doorknob and locked them in, taking the key above the doorjamb with her. She did the same for her older son. She fled downstairs and out the open side door, hurdled over Dean's bike and ran across the street.

    "Stuart Dean's in my house, and my boys are still in there!" she screamed repeatedly as she banged on the door of her friend Kellie O'Brien, an FBI agent.

    O'Brien stumbled downstairs in her pajamas. Babin screamed at such a high pitch that O'Brien could not understand her at first. O'Brien raced upstairs and got her gun. She handed the phone to her partner, Mary Ellen Thorp, and told her to call 911. Thorp, their wide-eyed 4-year-old in her arms, knew to tell the dispatcher immediately that O'Brien was an FBI agent and that she was armed.

    O'Brien raced out in her bare feet and went around to the back of Babin's house, waiting for Dean to come out. She saw him through the windows, his arms filled with an odd assortment of tools and children's items such as a firetruck and a Bob the Builder toy, tugging on the French doors to get out.

    "Police!" she called as he broke the door. "Get down!"

    Dean threw the bundle of stuff up and took off running, around the side of the house. By that time, another neighbor, Joe Hart, was in the street in his stocking feet.

    "What should I do?" he asked O'Brien as she rushed after Dean through patches of snow.

    "Chase him," she answered. Hart took off. As did another neighbor, Dory Boyd, an electrician's apprentice who was on her way to work and nearly ran over Babin when Babin ran across the street. Boyd left her truck running and took off after Dean in her heavy work boots.

    "I got halfway down the street and started thinking, 'What am I going to do if I catch this guy?' " Boyd said. "He could have a gun, a knife, almost anything. I almost stopped. But I didn't want him to get away."

    Hart began calling out: "Stop, Stuart! You've gone too far this time!"

    "I ain't no burglar," Dean called back. Then he repeated, " 'This is wrong, John.' "

    Hart caught him in a bear hug three blocks away about the time that O'Brien, who had run back to her house for handcuffs and was still barefoot, drove up in Boyd's truck. They handcuffed Dean just as Alexandria patrol cars pulled up. Dispatchers registered Thorp's 911 call at 5:22 a.m. Police were on scene at 5:35 a.m., Alexandria police officials said.

    Babin's children slept through the ordeal.

    In the ensuing months, Dean has tried to call Babin collect from jail four times. Hart said there is a palpable sense of relief in the neighborhood now that he is no longer hanging around. And O'Brien's son has a much clearer sense of what she means when she says, "Mommy catches bad guys."

    O'Brien, Hart and Boyd were honored for their actions recently by the Alexandria police. But they played down their roles. O'Brien said she is trained to deal with crime. And helping each other out is simply what neighbors do, they said.

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    Thanks for posting. I read that article - She is a VERY fortunate (spelled L-U-C-K-Y)lady. I particularly liked...
    O'Brien stumbled downstairs in her pajamas. Babin screamed at such a high pitch that O'Brien could not understand her at first. O'Brien raced upstairs and got her gun. <my emphasis>
    I have no repeatable words for that maneuver!

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    Regular Member IanB's Avatar
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    Dispatchers registered Thorp's 911 call at 5:22 a.m. Police were on scene at 5:35 a.m., Alexandria police officials said.

    13 minutes? Good thing she had a gun to protect herself and her children. Oh, wait. She didn't... she had to abandon her children and run outside to find someonewho did have a gun.



    Dean wandered into the master bathroom. Babin carefully reached for the cordless phone that was always on her bedside table to call 911. It was not there. She would later find that it, with every other phone and cellphone in the house, her wallet, keys and business cards had been stuffed into Dean's bulging workpants pockets.
    And if you do have a gun in the house, it's probably a good idea to hide it somewhere the criminal won't readily find it.

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    And if you do have a gun in the house, it's probably a good idea to hide it somewhere the criminal won't readily find it.
    Very good point. I have been a little lazy recently, and simply left the gun on my night stand next to me. Had she done the same, he obviously would have picked up the gun when he got the phone.

    Another good reason to pick up one of the $5-$10 magnetic door alarms...if the door opens without the key in the alarm, it squeals after like 10 seconds. In fact I'm going to place that order right now, since I'll be moving to a new appartment at the end of this week.

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    nakedshoplifter wrote:
    Dispatchers registered Thorp's 911 call at 5:22 a.m. Police were on scene at 5:35 a.m., Alexandria police officials said.

    13 minutes? Good thing she had a gun to protect herself and her children. Oh, wait. She didn't... she had to abandon her children and run outside to find someonewho did have a gun.



    Dean wandered into the master bathroom. Babin carefully reached for the cordless phone that was always on her bedside table to call 911. It was not there. She would later find that it, with every other phone and cellphone in the house, her wallet, keys and business cards had been stuffed into Dean's bulging workpants pockets.
    And if you do have a gun in the house, it's probably a good idea to hide it somewhere the criminal won't readily find it.
    Because when seconds count.....they're just minutes away!

    Not a slam to LEO's, just a fact of the matter.

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    Regular Member zoom6zoom's Avatar
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    Because when seconds count.....they're just minutes away! Not a slam to LEO's, just a fact of the matter.
    As I've often heard... "911: Government sponsored Dial-A-Prayer".

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    Dean, 53, who had 19 previous convictions
    Nice to see that the the criminal justice system isn't just just giving criminals a slap on the wrist and letting them go. This must be the new 20 strikes and your out law.

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    I'm sorry, I sleep with my gun in the bed and sleep light. He would heard me pulling back the slide on my COLT Defenderand my lasergrip would have lit him next, then BAM. End of career.

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    19 convictions?! Like Ted Nugent says: we don't need more repeat offenders, we need dead offenders...

    And why did the FBI agent leave her gun upstairs to run down and answer the door. In the middle of the night, too.

    The last poster is right. The second floor of the house is the Alamo. Anyone caught up there uninvited at night is fair game.

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    dichamw wrote:
    I'm sorry, ¬*I sleep with my gun in the bed and sleep light.¬* He would heard me pulling back the slide on my COLT Defender¬*and my lasergrip would have lit him next, then BAM.¬* End of career.
    You give them the sound of a slide going back? How generous of you.

    Then again, I live alone. I have no small ones or roommates to worry about.

    That being said, I hope someone brings up Kennesaw, GA to this woman.
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    Wooley wrote:
    I think it gives some personal satisfaction when you know that THEY know they're about to take a dirt nap.

    I keep a bat by the bed too. If he's unarmed or I can get the jump on him, a Louisville Slugger to the face is VERY gratifying. Especially when you remember he's there to hurt you or your family.
    How would you know is unarmed? I'll just ask him if he armed or unarmedafter the BAM.



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    Dana Sculley would never have gone anywhere without her pistol. IIRC, she did all the killin' on the X-Files. Mulder was a non-shooting ****.

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    This type of incident makes me evaluate if I need some form of alarm system to warn of perminter breach. I was thinking claymores but Apt. Complex turned me down.

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    rabbit994 wrote:
    This type of incident makes me evaluate if I need some form of alarm system to warn of perminter breach. I was thinking claymores but Apt. Complex turned me down.
    lol On a serious note, I've been looking at stuff like that (alarms, not claymores) and they make some pretty inexpensive practical things. Alarms for windows/doors, motion detectors, keypad security stuff...all under $20! Just use google and search for home security or the like..

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    Or, for the tech savy...

    A speaker pulled out of a discarded radio - Free!

    Wire, from various sources (including said radio) - Free! (usually)

    AC->DC powersource (man I love these radios) - > Free!(if it works)

    Soldering iron - $20 (if you don't already have one, Home Depot has a nice one...)

    Solder (if you use up what came with the iron) - $3

    Various components ripped from discarded electronics - Still free!

    Duct tape - Free! (because you should already have some)

    Having too much time on your hands to make stuff like this: Priceless

    :celebrate
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    you ought to make a video of it and post it on you tube or sell em

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    bohdi wrote:
    you ought to make a video of it and post it on you tube or sell em
    I'll presume you meant that to be directed towards me....

    Honestly, if you're interested in this sort of thing, you could try http://www.instructables.com/tag/?li...alarm&offset=0

    They have a lot of good articles, and in the setup I'd listed before, replace any batteries with an appropriate level AC->DC converter (rectifier)

    I have a whole box of 'em from all the broken electronics I've bought/found/scavenged over the years.


    Hmm, this is a rather cheese-filled example, but it's a good start. If you wanted to do a window, you could put some double-sided tape on the foil and stick it in a window frame.

    http://www.instructables.com/id/EWJ1...7EB9/?ALLSTEPS

    If (any of) you have a specific application in mind you'd like to try, let me know via PM. I'll get back to you on it late tomorrow, after I get back from Haymarket.

    Also, those little magnetic contacts (the little white plastic ones) are a WONDERFUL way to set up an alarm. They can be a REAL PAIN for the average, or even marginally experienced burglar to get past quietly.

    http://images.google.com/images?q=ma...+contacts+-car

    I'm not big on the recessed ones because, if someone knows they are there, they *can* be easier to bypass via foil (in some ways), and they require drilling, but they are a LOT harder to spot without some kind of equipment. Also, they are really not useable on windows... Only doors. That being said, they have their uses.

    Now, if it's someone that might be played by Sean Connery, you're on your own.
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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