While it's not a very common crime, if it happens to you, it's hard to imagine how you would react. Toledo police warn that if your home is being invaded, whether you run, hide, or attack can depend on the invader’s intent.
One Halloween night, Rose Toth returned to her home in Toledo’s Old West End to two very unwelcome guests.
“It happened so fast,” she said. “I walked in. The first thing i noticed is my cat wasn't at the door. He was always at the door and I yelled for him. Before I knew it, I had a gun in my face."
Toth's home had been invaded by two young men-one wearing a mask.
“My first words? ‘Are you for real?’ I honestly didn't think I believed my eyes in that moment.”
She had to think fast.
“Oddly, I was very compelled to try to humanize myself. So, I just kept talking-like talking and talking and talking because I thought if they thought I was a real person, then maybe they wouldn't hurt me,” Toth said.
Gun to her head, they demanded any of her valuables-down to right off her body-like her wedding ring and phone. Without that to call for help, Toth hid and turned to Facebook using a PC.
“I wrote, ‘This is not a joke. I was just robbed. Please send the police to my home.’ And I put my address to my home right on Facebook."
Her attackers were just beyond the door outside while she hid.
“She used the resources that she had right there,” Lt. Kevin Braun, of the Toledo Police, said. “And then and I think she made a great decision.”
Police eventually came. While the men were not caught that night, they are both behind bars now.
Lt. Braun said while home invasion situations can be very different, your top priority must always be keeping yourself safe.
“The goal here is to protect yourself. Not to protect your property. Not to protect your TV or your stereo,” he said. “Protect yourself and your family first.”
If able to get away, run then call police. If you can hide, hide. And, Lt. Braun said if you must, grab a weapon. Braun said not everybody has guns, but if you can get your hands on something you can possibly use to protect yourself, whether it be even a baseball hat or lamp, grab that.
The best case scenario is to prevent a home invasion all together. Toth has learned from her experience and wants to warn others, because she still suffers from her experience sometimes.
“I still sleep with the lights on. I have an alarm. It's just different," Toth said.
Toth warns to always keep the doors locked, invest in an alarm system, and keep your blinds shut. What the crooks can’t see, won’t tempt them.
Lt. Braun echoes that advice and also recommends developing relationships with neighbors.
“So that if this ever does happen, you have safe places that you can go and you can go quickly,” he said.
“Creepy people are creepy people- anywhere and everywhere,” Toth said. “So I think closing down your home makes sense."
Toledo Police also have a warning about your phone. Now that most people have ditched the home line in favor of a cell phone, make sure your cell is near always charged, so help is always close.