An Oregon man called police to report a burglar, but it turned out to be a trapped Roomba

By Ari Rees

Police in the Washington County, Oregon, area received a call earlier this week from a man claiming there was a burglar in a house he was staying at, only instead of finding a burglar, police found a robotic vacuum cleaner, The Guardian reports.

According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, police received a phone call at 1:48 p.m. on April 8 by someone reporting a burglar in a locked bathroom.

Sgt. Danny DiPietro of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office told NPR that the caller was frantic.

“The man had just gone for a walk with his nephew’s dog and when he came back, he could see shadows moving back and forth under the bathroom door,” DiPietro said.

Three deputies, an area detective and two canine officers from the Beaverton Police Department responded to the scene and surrounded the house, according to NPR.

They could hear noise coming from the bathroom and made several commands for the individual inside to come out.

“The whole time they were yelling, ‘Sheriff’ and ‘Police’ but the burglar wouldn’t come out. He wouldn’t say anything,” DiPietro said.

Police heard only an increased rustling noise from behind the door, “like a loud thud, thud, thud on glass,” DiPietro said, and they assumed the “burglar” was trying to escape.

At 2:05 p.m., officers drew their guns and broke into the bathroom, only to discover that there was no burglar at all, only a “rogue” Roomba cleaning the floor, according to the Facebook post.

“It was just this little round machine, slamming against the glass (shower) wall,” DiPietro told NPR.

“Everyone just started cracking up. It was such a huge relief because it’s the kind of situation that could go either way,” DiPietro said. “No one had any idea what was waiting for them behind the door, but they definitely didn’t expect that.”

DiPietro told NPR the man who called them felt “awful,” but he said he doesn’t blame him.

“I would have done the exact same thing if I was visiting someone and didn’t know there was a robot vacuum cleaner that was set to go off on its own. And even the responding officers, when they saw the shadow under the door and the sound of someone trying to get out … well, they fell for it too,” DiPietro said.

The Facebook post has received lots of laughs and love online.

“I find it amazing that the vacuum decided to barricade himself in such a standoff. Tech is taking over!” a man named Fred Causer commented on the post.

“After sweeping the premises, the perpetrator was nabbed. Later, the room was dusted for prints,” Richard Cox commented.

Many were simply grateful for the officers’ caution.

Matt Raymond commented, “I’m glad to see a little levity was added to the day of some of the brave men and women who do their level best every day to keep us safe. Thanks for sharing this hilarious story and for the good work you do!”