An Edmonton man who saw two men attempt to break into his house said the two-way communication tool on his security system likely saved his family from being robbed.
The would-be thieves, who managed to pry open the door with a screwdriver, were caught on surveillance video in the west Edmonton community of Wedgewood Heights on Tuesday afternoon.
The ordeal started at around 1:45 p.m. and only lasted a few minutes.
Clem Ho was at his office when he received a notification on his cellphone that there was motion at his front door. Ho pulled up the video feed and noticed a man in a safety vest and work clothes.
“I saw the first person at the door and initially I didn’t think anything of it because there’s workmen and telecom people that are in and out of the neighbourhood all the time,” he explained on Wednesday.
That was, until the man “started acting suspiciously.”
The man in the vest can been seen knocking on the door several times and peering through the window. He then tries to open the front door. When no one answers, the man in the vest appears to wave someone else over and pulls a walkie talkie radio out of his side bag.
The man appears to speak into the radio and a second man then walks up the driveway to the front door, when he appears to hand the man in the vest a screwdriver. The man then uses force to pry open the front door.
“Adrenaline is starting to start pumping,” Ho recalled, as he scrambled from his office to figure out what to do next. “It all happened within a matter of seconds.”
That’s when Ho used the talk-back feature to tell the men to “get away from the door.” Both men immediately stop what they’re doing and run away.
Watch below: A brazen daytime robbery attempt in Edmonton was stopped because of a doorbell camera. Quinn Ohler has the details.
What’s concerning for Ho is that the security equipment didn’t appear to slow down the criminals. Both men can be seen staring directly into the doorbell camera at one point during the incident.
“They had gotten the door ajar to the point where the initial alarm chime went off before the siren had triggered and it didn’t stop them from trying to get in,” Ho said.
“Everything happened so fast that it wouldn’t take much for them to run in and run out with whatever they could grab, assuming nobody was home, they have a window of opportunity,” he said.
Also concerning for Ho is the fact one of the men appeared to try to pose as a construction worker.
“I am very concerned because we’re in a community with a lot of small children, and most communities in Edmonton have a lot of small children and workmen are everywhere. People lose trust in other people and in society.”
Edmonton police say they are seeing incidents like this happen in the city, where people are working in pairs.
“There’s one guy who’s the lookout and another person who takes the opportunity to try to breach the door,” Const. Curtis Rind said.
“That construction vest and, ‘I work for Larry’s Landscaping’ or whatever place they may have credentials for, we are seeing that sporadically,” he continued. “It’s more of a higher-level criminal who would try something like that. They would already have maybe a script in their head about who they are and what they’re doing to be ready for any questions if somebody does come to the door if they are home.
“We see different types of criminals all the time. So we see those people who absolutely don’t care one way or the other, to the people that walk up, they see that doorbell camera or that positioned camera that’s in the eavestroughs and they’ll look around and they’ll think twice and they’ll leave. But there are those criminals who go all the way.”
Rind wants people in Edmonton to be vigilant in scenarios like this, and don’t hesitate to ask people who come to the door who they are and why they’re there — and don’t feel bad about asking someone they don’t know to leave the property.
“We want people to first of all, know the routines of their neighbourhoods, know their neighbours and be vigilant when somebody does come to your door and listen to your gut. We all carry that common sense portion.”
Anyone who experiences a situation like this is asked to call police immediately.
Rind said police have not yet identified any suspects.