Police Respond to 911 Burglary Call, Guns Drawn—Turns Out to Be a Roomba

Image: Facebook (Washington County Sheriff’s Office)

On Tuesday afternoon, police in Oregon received a 911 call claiming someone had locked themselves in the bathroom, according to a Facebook post from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. According to the law enforcement department, several police officers responded to the call, surrounded the house, commanded the suspect to come out, and drew their guns.

The suspect was a Roomba.

“As we entered the home we could hear ‘rustling’ in the bathroom,” a deputy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said, according to the Facebook post. “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.”

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Two men made the 911 call suspecting someone had broken into their nephew’s Cedar Hills home, which they were housesitting, the Washington Post reported. The men reportedly had taken the dog for a walk and returned to hear sounds coming from the locked bathroom.

“In 13 years, this is my first Roomba burglar,” Sgt. Danny DiPietro, a Washington County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, told OregonLive. “Never had anything like this.”

According to the timeline detailed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the time it took for them to surround the house and open the bathroom door—after the “suspect” failed to respond to them—was 10 minutes. A detective, three deputies from the sheriff’s office, and two canine officers from the Beaverton police force reportedly responded to the call.

“One hundred percent, they had their guns out and the dogs out,” DiPietro told the Post. “If we tell you we’re the police and you’re not responding and not coming out, we don’t know what we’re walking into. We don’t know if they’re armed or if they’re going to attack us.”

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The two house-sitters apparently didn’t know their nephew had a Roomba.

“They were definitely embarrassed, but our deputies told them, ‘Hey, we believed it was an intruder, too,’” DiPietro told the Post. “These people were house sitting. They didn’t know this vacuum was going to kick on and go and do this . . . These people were in a unique circumstance.”

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Melanie Ehrenkranz

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