Officer mistakenly reports burglary, break-in as false alarm

by: Tom Regan Updated:

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A DeKalb County homeowner believes a police officer sent to investigate a burglary at home failed to properly check for signs of a break in and reported the call as a false alarm.

But two burglars had ransacked her home and stole thousands of dollars in belongings.
"He could have caught these guys, but because he only took a visual of the front of the house, he didn't realize that they were still here," said homeowner Deidra Cunningham.
Cunningham told Channel 2's Tom Regan that she and her husband were out of town to attend her son's track and field championship competition last Saturday afternoon. Her alarm company called to report a possible break-in.
Moments later, she streamed security camera images from inside her home on her mobile phone. It showed two men stuffing valuables into large bags.
"It's such a violation of your privacy. You feel humiliated. Who are these people just going through your things?" said Cunningham.
The security company called police. A few minutes later, Cunningham looked at her phone again, and saw a patrol car outside through another security camera mounted on her living room window.
She hoped the officer would capture the burglars red-handed. But just the opposite happened when her husband called the security company for an update.
"The police officer is just sitting out there. And at that moment, the security officer said the police said it was a false alarm. My gut tells me, he never got out of the car," said Cunningham.
The officer returned later to investigate and spoke with the Cunninghams.

Mrs. Cunningham said the officer told her he got out of the car and looked around and saw no sign of forced entry. But Cunningham said if he went through a rear he would have seen a broken security bar gate and broken glass in a sliding door.
"He said 'Ma'am, I can't jump a fence.' Well, the burglars can jump a fence. If you had just opened the gate you might have seen there was a true burglary," said Cunningham.
The burglars stole three high-end computers, a flat-panel television and a pair of expensive basketball shoes. Cunningham said she's disappointed with the police officer's initial response.
"I feel like my family, my home, is unimportant to police," said Cunningham.
A representative of the DeKalb Police Department said a detective has been assigned to the burglary, and police commanders will examine whether the first officer to respond to the call followed proper departmental procedures.