Burglar Calls 911 When He Can’t Get Out Of Escape Room Business

by Kim Boateng Posted on July 13th, 2018

Vancouver, Washington, USA: A burglar identified by police as Rye Daniel Wardlaw, 40, got more than he bargained for after he broke into a business in Washington and then ironically chose to call police for help when he could not get out.

Most people enter into an “escape room,” to, well, escape it. But, the task proved a bit too difficult for an alleged burglar who broke into one and had to call the police for help getting out.

Tamara Bertrand, who owns NW Escape Experience in Vancouver (Portland Metro), Washington, with her husband Rob, said she received a call at 5 a.m. Sunday from the local sheriff’s office, saying them that someone had burgled their store.

Fearing the worst, the couple rushed to the business.”Our initial reaction when we received the call was obviously worst case scenario,” Bertrand told reporters. When they arrived, they realized the situation was a bit more comical than they thought, “At that point all we could do was laugh,” Bertrand said.

Bertrand said that someone broke into their storefront by accessing an adjoining door between their escape room and the vacant suite next door. The suspect allegedly pushed over a large set of lockers blocking the door, and gained access to the store, she said.

The man allegedly stole a prop beer used in one of the escape rooms, a tv remote and a non-working cell phone, she said. After allegedly stealing the items, the burglar settled in for a nice breakfast, eating a burrito he brought with him, Bertrand said. But, that’s when it all went downhill for him.

“We believe he forgot how he got into our space,” said Bertrand. That’s when he “‘got scared and called 911” from the businesses phone, she said. Bertrand said he reported a home invasion and provided cops with a fake address, but they were able to track the call coming from inside NW Escape Experience.

The burglar eventually escaped the store through the back door, running right into police officers waiting for him. Deputies said they found him lurking around the strip mall.

Rye Wardlaw was still at the strip mall in the 1500 block of Northeast 78th Street when a Clark County deputy found him walking away from the back of the building around 4 a.m., a probable cause affidavit said. He initially denied being anywhere near the businesses there.

The suspected burglar was later identified as Rye Daniel Wardlaw. He was arrested after authorities interviewed him and had evidence linking him to the burglary. He faces a charge of 2nd-degree burglary.

While detained by the deputy in handcuff, Wardlaw said he went into the closed businesses because he was homeless and “has no place to be,” the affidavit said. He said when he got to the strip mall earlier, he opened a lockbox that had three keys inside and used one to get into an electrical room behind the mall, the affidavit said. He then punched a hole through a wall leading into the bathroom of NW Escape Experience, an escape room business.

Wardlaw said he got out of the electrical room, found a nearby sports rehabilitation business with its front door unlocked and went inside, the affidavit said. He said he used the bathroom there and ate a burrito he had with him.

Wardlaw said he then went inside the escape room business through an unlocked front door. He took a cellphone and a storage card from the front desk, and later used the phone to call 911 to report himself, the affidavit said.

According to the court documents, Wardlaw called 911 from the escape room business and falsely reported he ran there because his home was being broken into.

Despite the ordeal, NW Escape Experience was back to normal on Tuesday where paying customers choose from several themed rooms to try and escape from.

Wardlaw remains held in the Clark County Jail on accusations of second-degree theft.

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Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

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