When things go bump in the night, you can't help but worry. For a Murfreesboro woman, she thought the noise was a cat, but it was really a cat burglar.
Melanie had just opened the glass patio door at her Chelsea Place Apartment so her cat could watch the birds through the screen, when all of a sudden, she heard a ruckus.
"I thought the cat was trying to open the door, I heard the door rattling," said Melanie, who didn't want Channel 4 to use her last name.
That's when Melanie came face-to-face with an intruder.
"I rounded the corner to catch a cat, not a burglar," the victim said. "There was someone standing inside my house with the doors open."
She said the man didn't say a word, just stood there.
"It scared me so bad; I started screaming and yelling at him at the top of my lungs, and he was very casual, very calm and collected," she said.
The victim ran to her bedroom to get her gun.
"It's a scary thought because if you take the time to do it, it could've been too late in a heartbeat," Melanie said. "By the time you go get protection, it can be too late."
The intruder ended up leaving, and Melanie was able to lock the door.
The intruder didn't get away with much, just a set of keys, but the victim said he stole her sense of security.
"It's very horrifying to come into your house and find someone already in there with you," she said. "I don't feel secure; I'm always looking at the door and keeping it locked."
Murfreesboro police said it's good that the victim also kept a calm head.
"Anytime you're inside your home, you have the right to protect yourself," said Murfreesboro police spokesman Sgt. Kyle Evans. "In this case, she did everything right except for not calling the police immediately. In fact, when she retreated to her bedroom, the best thing she could have done was lock herself into the room and call 911."
Waiting 30 minutes to call police was crucial.
"By the delay in the call, unfortunately, we were not able to catch the suspect in the area," Evans said.
The victim was able to get all the locks to her apartment changed, and she's just thankful no one was hurt.
"I can't be caught off-guard; I don't want to go through that experience ever again," she said.
Police said residents can still secure their patio doors by simply using some type of metal or plastic pole that would allow the door to be opened wide enough for an animal, but not a person to slip in.
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