Monthly Archives: May 2010

Home Alone Girl Acts Fast and Stops Burglary

In Oregon, 12 year-old Mackenzie Hughes could have panicked when a burglar entered the bedroom she was hiding in.  Instead, she stayed on the phone with emergency dispatchers and helped police catch the burglars.

“I heard a knock on my door and it was this … guy I’ve never seen in my life,” Hughes told NBC’s “Today” show.  “So I just sat there really, really quietly. And then he kept on pounding on the door, and all of the sudden I saw him try the knob.”

Mackenzie was home alone when she heard someone trying to break into her house.  But she knew what to do, AOL News reports.  Hughes called 911 and then ran into her bedroom to hide.

“There’s someone at my door!” she can be heard telling the dispatcher on the tape.

Then things got even scarier.  One of the burglars came into Hughes’ bedroom as she hid underneath a blanket on her bed.  Hughes said the man knew she was there.

“I could just feel him staring right at me.”

Although she was afraid, Hughes managed to stay on the phone with the dispatcher until police came to the scene.  The dispatcher tried to keep the girl calm and quiet.

“He’s in my room,” Mackenzie told the dispatcher.

“OK, be quiet.  OK, don’t talk to me.  Just don’t talk,” the dispatcher advised Mackenzie.  “Take deep breaths, think of something fun.”

Finally, the police arrived and the three men were apprehended before they could get away.

Memorial Day Ranks as One of the Top Holidays for Vehicle Theft

Memorial Day ranks as one of the most popular holidays for vehicle theft.  According to the National Crime Information Center’s latest data, 2,599 vehicles were stolen on Memorial Day making it the fifth most targeted holiday for vehicle theft.  The AAA forecasts that 32.1 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles away from home this Memorial Day weekend – providing a wealth of targets for today’s sophisticated car thieves.

Whether you are traveling far from home or plan to spend Memorial Day in your own backyard, LoJack Corporation advises that consumers take precautionary measures to protect their vehicles.  Here is some advice from theft prevention expert D.J. Thompson.

Use Common Sense Measures.  Never leave keys in the car with the engine running.  Don’t hide a spare key in the vehicle.  Close all windows and lock all doors when leaving your vehicle.  Park in a well-lit area and, when at home, keep your car in the garage.  Don’t leave valuables visible in your car.

Use Theft Prevention Products.  A thief may be less inclined to steal your car if it has visible and audible warning devices like a wheel lock or alarm system.  Immobilizers–which include smart keys, kill switches and fuel cut-off devices–can offer another means of protection.

Use a Tracking and Recovery System.  Since thieves can typically disarm most theft prevention devices, recovery systems provide the best chance that you’ll get your car back.

Grilling Safety Tips

During Memorial Day weekend people are sure to fire up the grill for outdoor celebrations, some of which may lead to careless accidents.  All Home Security suggests the following safety tips for anyone planning to grill.

Find a proper area:

The National Fire Prevention Association advises that charcoal and propane grills should not be used indoors. Set up the grill on a flat surface that cannot burn (like asphalt or concrete) and place at least 10 feet from homes, decks, garages and any other structures. Make sure the area is free from leaves, trees or other things that may easily catch fire.

Check before lighting:

Do not use a grill more than a few years old. Before each use, look over the equipment for any potential hazards like structural cracks, leaks or brittleness.

Be cautious when cooking:

Never lean over, turn away from or leave a lit grill unattended. Wear loose clothing and use flame-resistant mitts and/or barbecue tools with long handles while grilling.

Clean after use:

Wait for the grill to completely cool before cleaning. Use only grill-approved cleaners and never store a grill indoors.

Prepare for emergencies:

Have a first aid kit and fire extinguisher or garden hose nearby as a precaution. Also keep a phone close in case of emergency. Do not pour water on a grease fire, it will only grow larger. Look for home security systems that offer immediate response in the event of fire.

Smoke Detectors, Troopers Help Avoid Fire at Texas Capitol

An electrical fire at the historic Texas Capitol in Austin was averted the evening of April 30 due to the building’s security professionals, who immediately reacted to a signal set off by a smoke detector in the reference library.

“It’s good to be diligent,” said John Nichols, fire marshal at the Texas Capitol, who credits a System Sensor smoke detector for going into pre-alarm mode. Pre-alarm typically means that the detector has sensed smoke, but the event is not serious enough to warrant a full alarm.

The pre-alarm mode on the System Sensor photoelectric smoke detector triggered an alert at 9:16 p.m. that Friday on the fire panel monitored by the security team’s central monitoring office onsite.

The supervisor radio dispatched a trooper to the exact location noted by the addressable fire system, which basically assigns a unique location, or address, to each detection device throughout the capitol.  Upon entering the library, the trooper smelled a strong, electrical burning odor and discovered soot around a ceiling-mounted light fixture that had malfunctioned.

Nichols credits the System Sensor detector and the capitol’s quick-acting security team from keeping the smoke event from escalating into a full-blown fire.

“We are really glad we have these smoke detectors,” he says.  “It’s nice knowing that we can depend on the detectors.”

The Texas Capitol completely overhauled and upgraded its fire and life safety system last year.

Man Tackled after waving Gun in Church

Parishioners sprang into action yesterday morning at a church in Pittsburgh where a man threatened to shoot his mother after pulling out a weapon, which was later determined to be a BB gun.

The suspect – identified as Robert Irvin, 23 – was arrested on charges including aggravated assault, terroristic threats, and simple assault, reports WTAE-TV.

Witnesses said the man entered the church through a side door and pulled out the gun and threatened to shoot his mother.

Security staff hired to work Sundays at the church quickly tackled the man, witnesses said.

“As he came into the side, there was a couple guys that I guess seen the commotion going on and he was about to do something, so they tackled him and that’s when they got him, and a couple guys got on top of him and took him off,” said parishioner Precious Anderson.

Police said security guards noticed the young man fumbling around during services, so they asked his stepfather to take him outside.  Police said the stepfather took the young men outside and they talked before the young man pulled out the gun and hit his stepfather with it, cutting his ear.

$120 million in Paintings Stolen in Paris

Five paintings, valued at $120 million total, have been stolen from the Paris Museum of Modern Art, and authorities are wondering how someone could have pulled off the heist.  (Some experts are already blaming poor security.) The stolen works include pieces from Matisse and Picasso.

The five modern art masterpieces were discovered missing early Thursday morning as the museum was preparing to open to the public.  

ABC News reports that investigators are examining the museum’s surveillance footage which reportedly shows a masked thief at work, removing the paintings from the museum. The intruder entered by cutting a padlock on a gate and breaking a museum window, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

LifeLock CEO Victim of Identity Theft

LifeLock CEO Todd Davis, who you may recognize as the man who freely gives away his Social Security Number in most of the company’s television and billboard ads, has been the victim of identity theft a reported 13 times.

People from various states have taken out loans, opened cellphone plans, and purchased many items on credit using the LifeLock CEO’s information, racking up thousands of dollars in debt, and landing on the most-wanted lists of up to 5 collection agencies.

In its advertisements, LifeLock offers identity theft protection, and even tells its customers its “$10 monthly service would protect consumers from identity theft. The company also offered a $1 million guarantee to compensate customers for losses incurred if they became a victim after signing up for the service.”

The the company can’t protect its own CEO of identity theft suggests the company is perhaps operating under fraudulent pretenses. The company was fined $12 million in March by the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive advertising.


Protect Yourself from Home Invasions

In some cases, with just one kick, a criminal can knock all sense of safety and security out of your life by invading your home.  That’s what happened in Kansas City, Missouri, reports KMBC-TV.

 “I heard somebody jimmying my back door,” homeowner Bob Nicholson said.  But Nicholson pulled out his gun in defense.   “Put the gun right up to his head and just told him to stop.”

Meanwhile, in another town near Kansas City, Barbara Draper’s sister, Beverly Crowl, died after intruders broke into her home.  “It’s just a hard deal to go through,” Draper said.  “She didn’t deserve what happened to her.”

Overland Park, Kan., police Officer Mike Betten says a home invasion can happen in any type of neighborhood.  Betten is pushing for an ordinance requiring good locks and reinforced door frames, hinges, and doors in area homes.

 “It’s a good general rule of thumb that if we can keep them out for at least 30 seconds, frustrate them long enough that generally by that time, they’ll abandon the attack,” Betten said.

If an intruder gets in, Betten says call 911.  “Get out of the house and get into an area where you can yell, scream and draw attention to yourself,” Betten said.  Betten also cautions using a weapon as protection because it is crucial to keep intruders out to begin with.

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Thieves Steal Controversial Cross from Mojave Desert

Less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a controversial cross honoring American war dead could remain on federal land in the Mojave Desert in California, thieves have stolen it.

Authorities say the 7-foot-tall cross was taken late Sunday or early Monday.

The thieves cut the metal bolts that attached it to a rock.  A $25,000 reward has been offered in the case, the Associated Press reported.

Versions of the memorial have been vandalized repeatedly in the last 75 years and the motive this time was not immediately known, but the theft has been condemned by both veterans groups that support the cross and by civil libertarians that saw it as a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.

Remember, thieves will seal just about anything, even heavy outside structures and equipment.  If you have such property you may want to look into an alarm system such as a TattleTale Base Unit with Keyfob.