crimesider

Girl, 13, hides in closet with brother, calls 911 as burglars invade Fla. home

Alexis Stanni, 13, hid in a closet with her brother and called 911 when burglars broke into her home in Oakland Park, Fla., Thursday, June 21, 2012.
CBS Miami

(CBS) POMPANO BEACH, Fla. - A 13-year-old South Florida girl kept her cool - and kept her 10-year-old brother close by hiding in a closet - when three burglars armed with knives broke into their home in Oakland Park.

Alexis Stannis called 911 from her bedroom closet, CBS Miami reported.

In part, the conversation went like this:

Alexis: "Me and my brother are home alone and three guys are in our backyard trying to break-in. They're on the back porch trying to break in."

Alexis: "I hear footsteps."

911 Operator: "What's your name?"

Alexis: "Alexis."

911 Operator: "Are they inside the house, Alexis?"

Alexis: "I think so."

911 Operator: "Where are you inside the house?"

Alexis: "In my room in the closet."

Deputies with the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) headed to the house on the afternoon of Thursday afternoon, June 21, as Alexis calmly relayed information to the dispatcher. 

Deputies surrounded the house, and with Alexis and 10-year-old Darren still in the closet, they eventually found the burglars, themselves hiding in the closet of another bedroom, CBS Miami reported. All three suspects, ages 15, 15, and 17, were charged with armed burglary of a residence and theft. The suspects also admitted to breaking into a house next door where they used their knives to pry open a door.

"Who knows what could have happened since they were armed if Alexis hadn't been so cool, calm and collected," Sheriff Al Lamberti said.

Alexis said she had no idea the would-be thieves were armed.

"I didn't know they had knives," she said. "I didn't know what I'd be doing if they came into my room with a knife."

"I was scared," Alexis said at a Monday news conference. "I didn't know what to do."

Deputies said the burglars knocked on the door before they broke in - a common tactic.

"We can no longer tell our children not to answer the door if Mom and Dad aren't home," Sheriff Al Lamberti said. "They should never open the door to strangers, but they have to let criminals know that somebody is home. And they should call 911 like Alexis."

  • Barry Leibowitz

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