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Police respond to 911 burglary call, discover suspect is a trapped Roomba

According to the details of a 911 call placed at 1:48 p.m. today, April 9, an Oregon resident alerted a 911 dispatcher to a possible break-in. Reporting on constant movement in the home’s bathroom as well as noise, the caller also told the 911 operator that shadows were seen moving under the bathroom door, which had been locked from the outside for safety.

Moments later, several deputies with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the residence and surrounded the home. They called for a canine unit for assistance after confirming noise was constantly coming from the bathroom. Standing at the bathroom door, the deputies announced themselves multiple times. When the suspect didn’t comply with any voice commands, the deputies drew their weapons and opened the door only to discover a robot vacuum moving around the room.

Deputy Brian Rogers cleared the call stating “As we entered the home we could hear “rustling” in the bathroom. 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.” The sheriff’s office posted an account of the incident on their Facebook page along with a “Most Wanted: Captured” photo of the Roomba in question.

While this accident revealed no risk and offered plenty of humor, there are instances where smart home technology has accidentally saved the day. During mid-2017, New Mexico police responded to a 911 call that was automatically placed by a smart speaker within a home. A man was house-sitting with his girlfriend at a New Mexico residence when the couple began to argue.

The situation escalated into physical violence and the man allegedly pulled out a firearm. He screamed at his girlfriend “Did you call the sheriffs?” The smart speaker picked up that phrase as a voice command and proceeded to call 911. The 911 dispatcher listened in and was able to send several deputies to the residence to get the woman, as well as her daughter, out of the house unharmed.

Speaking about the New Mexico incident, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III said “The unexpected use of this new technology to contact emergency services has possibly helped save a life. This amazing technology definitely helped save a mother and her child from a very violent situation.”

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