Couple call police after mistaking robotic vacuum cleaner for burglar

‘I was so embarrassed,’ says Thomas Milam, from North Carolina

Peter Stubley
Saturday 28 December 2019 14:48
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Couple call police after mistaking robotic vacuum cleaner for burglar

A couple called police to report a burglar was ransacking their home – only to discover it was their new robot vacuum cleaner.

Thomas and Elisa Milam armed themselves with a gun and hid in their bedroom after hearing a disturbance at the house in Forsyth County, North Carolina, at 12.30am.

“Someone was definitely downstairs rummaging through things, and it sounded close to us,” wrote Mr Milam in a Facebook post.

“All my military training came back to me, I started analysing the path the intruder would take, their line of fire if they entered the room in certain ways, and where we should be to decrease our risk of getting hurt.

“All I kept thinking about and listening for was my little two-year-old next door to us, alone, and sound asleep. I was ready to do whatever I needed to do if I heard her door open.”

The police arrived within a minute of their 911 call and burst in through the front door with their weapons drawn while shouting “Sheriff’s office."

Moments later the emergency operator told Mr Milam to put down his gun and go downstairs to talk to the officers.

They were met by a deputy who asked them: “Sir, I have one question – Is this ROOMBA yours?”

Mr Milam, who wrote about the incident on Facebook, explained that they had bought the robot vacuum cleaner two days earlier.

“It had somehow turned itself on and was vacuuming our house without us having scheduled it,” he wrote.

“It had gotten stuck in the hallway below our stairs which is close to our room, and it kept bumping into our walls which explained the noises we kept hearing.

“I was so embarrassed.... they all started laughing. They were such good sports about it and said believe it or not this kind of thing happens often, especially around this time of year.”

In his message thanking the police for their quick response, Mr Milam said they had decided to name their robot cleaner Harry, after one of the burglars from the film Home Alone.

He added: “Merry Christmas everyone, make sure you turn off your robot vacuums before they rob you blind.”

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