Surviving a Home Invasion - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Surviving a Home Invasion

February 8, 2007

Albany -- Would you know what to do if someone burst into your home while you were there, with your children?   Would you confront the suspect, defend your home, your children or would you hide or get out?

At 20, Danielle Cuny is a stay at home mom. Most days are spent entertaining her 17-month-old son Michael. That's why she was alarmed when her doorbell began ringing frantically for a second day in a row.

 "He came about 15 minutes before noon, and he started ringing my doorbell frantically again, and at the time I knew it was the same guy, and at that point I turned everything off again, I just got done doing the dishes so my dishwasher was going."

"I grabbed my son and I grabbed my phone, and then I attempted to go up to the door and look through my peephole, and at that point he was backed up in my driveway again and I thought he was getting into his car so, okay, I stand there and I wanted to see if he would leave, and he got back out of his car, left his door open and attempted to walk around my house."

Frightened, unsure, heart pounding, Danielle waited just inside her front door watching and listening. "At that point I could see my backdoor. I was trying to visually remember if there was anything left on, and I left the playroom light on, so I shut that off, and I came back to my spot up at the front, and I saw an orange shirt peeking through the back window, and at that point we had sheer curtains so you could kind of see through but you can't, so all I could see was a blurring of him."

Who was this stranger, and what did he want? Danielle dialed 911.  "He's kicking down my door, he's kicking down my door!"

911 Operator: "Okay, ma'am who's there?"

Danielle: " Me and my baby that's it. Hurry, he's kicking!"

911 Operator: "okay ma'am."

Slowly, what little stood between Danielle, Michael, and the intruder began to give way.

911 Call: Danielle: "I have to be quiet."

911 Operator: Okay tell me, who's at the door?"

Danielle: "Oh my God, he's kicking down my door, he's kicking down my door!"

911 Operator: "Okay, what I need you to do is get yourself so you can barricade yourself in another room. Where are you?"

Danielle: "I'm in my baby's room."

911: "Okay who's at the door?"

"I was more scared hiding in the closet, because I couldn't see what was going on, I couldn't see where he was-- I couldn't figure out where he was in the house and then I heard the door creaking off the bathroom, off his room.

911 call: Danielle: "I'm in my baby's closet, Oh my God, he's in!"

911 Operator: "Is he in there?"

Danielle: "I think he is."

911 Operator: "He's breaking in, do you know him?"

Danielle: "He's inside."

911 Operator: "He's inside? okay, Danielle listen, I got help on the way to you, okay?"

"I couldn't hold the phone straight to my head I was shaking, my body was convulsing. I was scared."

Danielle knew this was no game, this was life and death, someone was in her house, and then it was over.

911 call: Danielle: "He came through my back door. He left, he's driving an older model white car."

The intruder was gone and he'd taken more than Cuny's laptop, digital camera, and PDA phone.  "This is my home, this is where I'm supposed to feel safe, and he broke the border on that."

Law enforcement said Cuny did everything right, she didn't confront the intruder, she called 911, she got a description of the man's car and of the man himself, she even kept a record of her serial numbers for her laptop, camera and phone and called the local pawn shops which helped catch the crook.

 "I ordered a security system, so hopefully that will make me feel a little bit safer, but I don't see myself feeling much safer in this house as before. I'm probably going to leave once my lease term is done."

Cuny says she hasn't had a full night's sleep since, and expect it to be some time before she stops feeling like someone's going to try to come back at night when she's not ready for them.  

It took Albany Police Officers just four minutes to respond to Cuny's house.  The suspect, Jonathan Hodges, was arrested several days later and was charged with burglary and home invasion.  

Officers say if your home is invaded you should never confront a suspect, call 911 and let the professionals handle it. They say if you are confronted by a suspect, give them what they want, if they try to harm you, police say that's when you should fight your hardest, as if your life depends on it.

Police say the best way to stop a home invasion is by having a dog. They also recommend a security system or motion sensor lights around your home. Officers say all your doors should be equipped with a deadbolt to keep out intruders.  

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