We have a similar story around 2005. In-laws had bought a condo and my wife and I were putting up rods and drapes for them on a Saturday night. Oldest son had his own house and young son was a teenager (~16). Young son had a buddy over playing video games. House was locked up and both indoor and outdoor lighting was on. Young son and his buddy were upstairs so surveillance from outside must of made it look like no one was home.
I had been spearfishing the day before, so dive gear was out back drying. A burglar used my dive gear to bend the aluminum jamb and open the sliding door into the master bedroom. Our son heard the alarm chirp indicating a door or window had been opened. Since he was expecting his brother to stop by, he figured it was no big deal, even when the dog started growling. Tanner was an 80 pound yellow Lab that the older boy frequently messed around with so Tanner growling did not send up an alarm. Young son got up, looked out his door down the catwalk to the stairs and saw it was not his brother! The burglar was dressed in black, with a black bandana and hat that only revealed his eyes. In his hand was my dive gear he used to break in. Young son instructed his buddy to call 911 while he scanned the room for anything defensive. He grabbed a crescent wrench and he and Tanner chased the guy down the stairs. The burglar retreated to the master bedroom slamming the door behind him to cut off the attack from my son and dog. The Police Chief lived a couple doors down, so response was almost immediate. However the burglar escaped.
Once in the street our son called us – his first words were “My buddy and I are safe”. Then as Paul Harvey would say “We heard the rest of the story”.
I am obviously happy it worked out the way it did, but we discussed and thought about a couple of things that could have been done better.
• In my Dad’s tradition I had kept control of all guns and ammo. My son had a very good understanding of guns at that point in his life. From that night on he kept a 20 gauge pump in his room. It was loaded, but the chamber was kept empty.
• We discussed it would be safer for him to follow the example of the burglar, barricade in place, and do not pursue the perpetrator.
• Calling 911 before us was the absolute right order for phone calls
edit: Forgot one other take-away, we installed sliding glass door “wedge” (I can’t think of what to call them) kits. In other words, a bar on a swivel that swings down preventing the door from opening. I mounted it about 3 feet above floor level so we could easily see if it was in place as well as I think it would work better than having it at floor level, especially on an 8’ tall door.