Archive for Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lawrence woman reports waking up to burglar in her bedroom

July 11, 2012, 10:24 a.m. Updated July 11, 2012, 5:44 p.m.


A 74-year-old Lawrence woman awoke early Wednesday morning to a man standing in her bedroom holding a light.

“She sat up and asked what he was doing, and the suspect ran out of the room and out of the residence,” said Kim Murphree, a Lawrence police spokeswoman.

Officers were still trying to determine whether the suspect took any property in the aggravated burglary before 4 a.m. in the 1300 block of Raintree Place, just east of the intersection of University Drive and Iowa Street.

The crime is similar to incidents reported in recent months in which sleeping residents awoke to find someone in their homes, and police on Wednesday said the latest incident was a reminder to be vigilant about home security.

“The victims, they feel very violated when somebody enters their home,” said Rob Neff, a Lawrence police neighborhood resource officer. “It’s a very personal crime. We take that one very seriously.”

Murphree said the suspect in the Wednesday incident was described as a white man with a small build wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt. The suspect’s description doesn’t appear to match with reports of similar burglaries reported in May and June in southwest Lawrence.

Police on June 9 did arrest a 32-year-old Lawrence man, William D. Washington III, after he allegedly tried to enter someone’s home while they were investigating an aggravated burglary at a nearby house minutes earlier in the 3400 block of Augusta Drive.

Prosecutors later charged Washington with one count of aggravated burglary, attempted aggravated burglary, burglary, obstruction and two misdemeanor counts of theft. He is free on $15,000 bond, and his next court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday. Police at the time of his arrest said they were investigating whether he could be linked to a handful of similar burglaries reported before then, mostly in southwest Lawrence.

Neff said Wednesday’s burglary was a reminder to secure doors and windows, including placing a broomstick in the track of a glass-sliding door to keep it from being pulled open from the outside.

“I do it every night,” Neff said. “Just make it a routine that you go through and check every door and window before you go to bed.”

In addition he suggested:

• Make sure your garage door is closed every night and don’t leave garage door openers in vehicles parked outside.

• Install motion lights, including at the back of your house or a home-security system.

• Use dead bolts and window locks.

• Report any suspicious activity to police by calling 911 and also keep an eye on activity in your neighborhood.


RoeDapple 4 years ago

Hoodie. Probably just walking home.

beatrice 4 years ago

And lets not forget he had pants on. Criminals often wear pants.

Pretty much, if someone has pants on, they are likely a criminal.

Sean Livingstone 4 years ago

White and hoodie? Probably not a criminal, RoeDapple would assume....

Topple 4 years ago

Just in the knee....and the one next to it.

Brock Masters 4 years ago

You Don't think shooting someone in your bedroom under those circumstances is warranted?

Sean Livingstone 4 years ago

You have the right to shoot them if they're in your house. You do not have the right to shoot them if they're outside your house. I'm sure you know the rules. This is not Florida.

ksrover 4 years ago

Yes, know the laws. Kansas has adopted a form of the Castle Doctrine, which allows persons who feel threatened within their home, work, or vehicle to use physical or deadly force if necessary

BlackVelvet 4 years ago

Actually, you have the right to shoot them ONLY if you feel your life, or the life of another, is in jeopardy. You cannot shoot them simply for being inside your home.

matahari 4 years ago

just what is it that he stole? a peek?

Sarah St. John 4 years ago

If I remember correctly, matahari, burglary is just breaking in with intent to commit a crime. No mention of robbery.

oldbaldguy 4 years ago

aggravated burglary is entering a residence with someone there with the intent to commit a crime as in theft, rape and so on. If the lady had shot him it would have been a clear case of self-defense.

RoeDapple 4 years ago

Only if he threatened or attempted to harm her or others on the premises.

Topple 4 years ago

A dead intruder has no side of the story.

jhawkinsf 4 years ago

If she had shot him, no prosecutor would bring her up on charges. No jury would convict, if some prosecutor was foolish enough to bring her up on charges. Given the circumstances, the threat existed when he entered her home and then entered her bedroom.

ljwhirled 4 years ago

But some @#$&* lawyer would still make a bunch of $$$$ and it would be very inconvenient for the shooter.

Justified or not, being the shooter would suck.

RoeDapple 4 years ago

Y'all need a good read. Might I suggest "The Ayoob Files" by Massad Ayoob. He serves as a professional witness for these kind of events.

Topple 4 years ago

Breaking into your home isn't threatening?

BlackVelvet 4 years ago

Actually, it's called trespassing. Unless you have the intent to commit a felony or theft.

Brock Masters 4 years ago

Just being in the home under those circumstances is a threat.

beatrice 4 years ago

She awoke to a stranger in her room. If she attempted to retrieve a gun, it is very possible that the criminal could have taken it from her. If that had happened, the best case scenario then is that there is now an armed criminal escaping her home, while the worst case scenario is that he could have shot her.

Just having a gun is no guarantee that you will be in the best situation to use it to your advantage.

I think this one ended up as well as this type of thing could have, without a gun involved. I hope they catch him.

beatrice 4 years ago

The burglar left and no gun was involved. There is no guarantee of as positive an outcome if a gun were added to the mix.

Sean Livingstone 4 years ago

This is not Florida.... stand your ground is only applicable outside of your house... and in states with such a rule. For the rest of us... shooting and killing someone in your own house (uninvited guest)... is not considered a murder. Read your law.

ksrover 4 years ago

Again - part of the Castle Doctrine. Kansas states it as 'no duty of retreat', but it applies to the home, work, and vehicles.

workinghard 4 years ago

She was lucky, could have turned out a lot worse.

RoeDapple 4 years ago

A lot of tough talkers here, hope you never have to back it up.

gphawk89 4 years ago

So the guy is just standing there not being too aggressive, you aim for the knee, shoot once, graze the knee. And your gun jams. And now the guy is really PO'd and pulls out his own gun. Now what?

James Minor 4 years ago

Always know the law. There is nothing worse than to protect your home and self, shoot someone in your home and find out later there is some law that puts you in jail. The only standard in a court case is, it costs a lot of money and the verdict is a coin toss.

rcr 4 years ago

KANSAS’ SELF-DEFENSE & DEFENSE OF OTHERS STATUTES K.S.A. 2011 Supp. §§ 21-5220 through 21-5231

21-5223. Use of force in defense of dwelling. [Amends K.S.A. 2010 Supp. § 21-3212] (a) A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that it appears to such person and such person reasonably believes that such use of force is necessary to prevent or terminate such other’s unlawful entry into or attack upon such person’s dwelling, place of work or occupied vehicle. 1 (b) A person is justified in the use of deadly force to prevent or terminate unlawful entry into or attack upon any dwelling, place of work or occupied vehicle if such person reasonably believes that such use of deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to such person or another. (c) Nothing in this section shall require a person to retreat if such person is using force to protect such person’s dwelling, place of work or occupied vehicle.

riverdrifter 4 years ago

Roe is correct: a lot of tough talkers here. "When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk."

pace 4 years ago

If I woke up to someone in my bed room. I would order them out and if they did not flee I would shoot. I would not try to shoot at the knee caps or just to wound. I would shoot at the torso.
I am glad this woman was spared worse and sorry this happened to her. I hope the catch the craven fool.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years ago

Actually, none of us know for sure how we would react in this situation. As a soldier with extensive weapons training, I would hope that training kicks in without thinking. We were taught to react to the situation. Hesitation is deadly.There are plenty of tough talkers to go around.But, all you can do is talk until you are put in the same situation. This kids days are numbered if he keeps it up.Hope they catch him soon. The lives they save may be his as well as one of us.

matahari 4 years ago

Thanks all for the legal definition of burglary. I had no idea nothing needed to be stolen!

RoeDapple 4 years ago

livingstone says - "You have the right to shoot them if they're in your house. You do not have the right to shoot them if they're outside your house. I'm sure you know the rules. This is not Florida."

livingstone (also) says - "This is not Florida.... stand your ground is only applicable outside of your house... and in states with such a rule. For the rest of us... shooting and killing someone in your own house (uninvited guest)... is not considered a murder. Read your law"

You really don't have any idea what you're talking about do you? And as far as . . .

livingstone (says) -

"White and hoodie? Probably not a criminal, RoeDapple would assume...."

I only "assume" you are wrong. The mere presence of someone being in my house doesn't prove criminal intent. I "assume" that unless a weapon is being displayed, or threats are being made it, is just as possible this young man could be impaired due to being under or over medicated, or mentally impaired. If someone is in my house or trying to enter my house uninvited I would go on "high alert" for sure. That doesn't mean I automatically go for a weapon. It doesn't mean I won't, either. Every situation is different.

"Read your law" Yeah, good advice. You might want to heed it.

Topple 4 years ago

I automatically go for a weapon, to protect those in my home.

Let's not mince words with the intruder, the sweet sound of chambering a shotgun shell shall provide all the convincing he needs to tread carefully.

That said, I agree with RoeDapple. You have to assess each situation because no two are the same. Imagine a woman running door to door for one that's ounlocked because she's being chased. She finds yours open and enters for safety. Harsh end to shoot first, ask questions later.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years ago

The shotgun does not even have to be loaded to cycle the pump.That Sound is recognized universally. The bluff may work. Best to have shells in it at all times. May not be feasible if your household includes children. So Many variables make up a situation that it is hard to prepare for everything. First things first: Lock your doors and windows.Turn on outside lights. Most intrusions are not forced entries.

Dan Eyler 4 years ago

I agree that this individual needs to be captured. But in the mean time keep your 38 by the bed side. If someone enters your house without permission just remember, take a deep breath aim your weapon at the largest part of your target, exhale and squeeze the trigger, don't pull. Repeat this process until the robber is down and the threat is over. Don't get into wondering if this person is here to steal or rape or murder, don't worry if he is drunk, depressed or high on drugs. Those questions can be answered after you fire your shot(s) and you have assured your safety and the safety of your family. Don't fire after the individual is on the ground. If he is lucky enough to live you can then get all of your questions answered.

50YearResident 4 years ago

This burgler seems to know which houses are occupied by an elderly woman living alone. I think this is some kind of fetish that he enjoys and probably get satisfaction from scaring the homeowner. It is only going to stop if one of these seemingly defenseless women overpowers the burgler by some equalizer weapon, which would most likely be a gun. If he comes to your house just shoot him and save your neighbors from the same fate.

verity 4 years ago

The article doesn't say but it insinuates that these entries were not forced.

My experience---and those of neighbors---in Lawrence is that substance-impaired people can mistakenly try to enter a dwelling they think is their destination in addition to someone entering for malicious reasons. (Didn't really understand the explanation of the guy who was peeing off my backporch---he did leave without other incident. Then there was the guy who thought he lived in my basement---was trying to enter through an outside door.)

Best to get in the habit of turning around and locking your door upon entry, also closing ground floor windows at night.

verity 4 years ago

Great ideas! Made me chuckle too.

Things that impede forward progress can also work, although I'm thinking that could be an invitation to being sued.

It also helps to not live in a neighborhood that revelers frequent. One night about 2 am I heard, through an open---upstairs---window, some commotion and people's voices. Next morning my mailbox was lying on the ground. Unbeknownst to me and obviously to the person who tried to lean on it, the post was rotted.

Joe Hyde 4 years ago

For less money than the price of a new Glock 40 handgun, incredibly tricked out home security systems can be bought that feature multiple battery-powered ultrasonic motion detectors teamed with strobes and sound alarms, all signals fed into a portable receiver that will, among its other tricks, awaken and alert the sleeping resident to an unauthorized approach/entry.

You'd hate to shoot somebody right there in your house; lots of site cleanup and paperwork after the smoke clears. At the same time, if you're facing a burglar brazen enough to enter your bedroom at night then you almost hate not to shoot the SOB, too.

beatrice 4 years ago

The intruder in this case was in the room when the person awoke. She just about would have needed to sleep with a loaded weapon under her pillow in order for a weapon to be of any use. Of course, many people do leave weapons within easy reach, which is why we regularly read stories with tragic endings when children find unlocked weapons.

Again, this story ended about as well as it could, outside of the intruder being caught, and no gun was involved. Toss a gun into this story, and we do not know what the outcome would have been.

However, I would add, if someone uses a gun to shoot an intruder, I would agree with those who say "shoot to kill." A wounded intruder could be very dangerous.

BlackVelvet 4 years ago

You do not shoot to "kill." You shoot to make the threat stop. To make the intruder stop his/her aggressive actions. It just so happens the best way to make them STOP, is to shoot center mass. That causes the most disruption of their actions. If they happen to die from their wounds, so be it. We're not bloodthirsty heathens. We just want the intruder to STOP what they are doing.

beatrice 4 years ago

Yes, my word choice was poor. You are absolutely correct.

verity 4 years ago

I would like to know if none/some/all of these home entries were through unlocked doors or windows. The article insinuates that they weren't forced, but doesn't actually say. One would think that a door or window being broken would generally awaken an occupant as it's not a noise one is used to hearing. On the other hand, often regular locks (not dead bolts) can be easily opened with a thin piece of plastic.

If they were forced, how was it done? That knowledge would help others to know how to avert unlawful entry.

Tom McCune 4 years ago

What not to say when the cops show up with a dead perp on the floor: "I got one and I want my medal!" (Even if you really feel that way.)

What to say when the cops show up with a dead perp on the floor: "I was frightened. I thought he was coming at me with a weapon."

4 years ago

Even though I have my CCH and home defense weapon, I'd hate to have to use it. I wouldn't hesitate to protect my family though. My dogs are a good deterrent I'm sure. They freak out when someone comes to the door. I know not everyone likes or can have a dog but even a little one can make a lot of noise.

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