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911 call reveals invasion ordeal

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

October 17, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A Dougherty County woman Monday called 911 when two burglars kicked in her front door, not realizing she was at home.

Now you can hear her call for help, and the dispatcher that helped the woman through the ordeal.

Hiding in her house, listening as they ransacked it, waiting for police to rescue her.

Albany 911 Dispatcher Carolyn Lewis answered the call for help at 1:50 Monday afternoon.

"Albany 9-1-1, what is your emergency?" Lewis said on tape.

Shawlene Smith was on the other end of the line-- "Hello. Please send the Police. Someone has broken into my house."

9-1-1: "Are they still inside, Ma'am?"

"Yes, they just broke in," Smith said.

Shawlene Smith was home when two teens kicked in her front door. She hid and called 911 for help.

"Please hurry. I mean they knocked. They rung the doorbell. They knocked, and I thought they were Jehovah's Witness. I didn't go to the door. And they just kept bamming, and they busted in," Smith said.

A 20-year veteran of 911, Lewis dispatched police and tried to keep Smith calm.

"You know everything starts going through your mind when you get an exciting call like that. Adrenaline rush," Lewis said.

Lewis kept Smith on the line while waiting for police, and both could hear the burglars.

"I hear them. I hear them. They're getting the stuff out of the house,"  Smith said.

911 "Where are you?"

Smith: "I'm in the bathroom. I'm locked in my bathroom."

911- "You're in the bathroom?"

Smith - "Please hurry."

911- "Stay on the line."

"She was scared. I was, too," Lewis said.

Officers arrived and caught two teens running from the house with money and a shotgun. Lewis coordinated the officers searching the house with Smith still hiding.

"Ten four, advise her we are going to clear the rest of the house before we come down the hallway," an APD officer said.

911- "They say they are going to clear the rest of the house before they come down the hallway. Stay on the phone with me."

Smith "Stay in the bathroom?"

"Got one male subject on the ground at gunpoint," an officer says.

Officers finished their search, and gave Lewis the OK for Smith to come out.

Smith said "Yes, Hello. OK I'm coming."

911- "I'm going to go ahead and hang up. OK."

"Thank you," Smith said.

A happy ending for the home invasion victim, and the 911 dispatcher who supervisors say once again proved she is one of the best.

"No I haven't talked back to her," Lewis said, "But when we hung up she did say Thank you."

Does that make you feel good? "Yes it does."

Dougherty County Police charged the two 15-year-old Middle Schoolers they arrested on Newcomb Road with burglary and possession of a gun in the commission of a felony. Charges against a third teen that Police were searching for in this break in were dropped.


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