Burglar breaks into escape room, then calls 911 when he can’t get out

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A burglar who broke into an escape room business in Washington on Sunday got lost inside the building and had to call 911 when he couldn’t find his way out, according to KOIN.

The sheriff’s office responded to NW Escape Experience at 5 a.m. Sunday after receiving a 911 call from the burglar. However, when the burglar called he said his home was being broken into and gave a fake address but they were able to track the call coming from inside the business.

“Once we got down there [to the business] and realized the damage was minimal, we just thought it was hilarious,” owner Rob Bertrand said.

Escape rooms have gained popularity in recent years. Groups work together under a time limit, finding clues and solving puzzles, to get out of rooms.

The burglar inadvertently tried his hand at the team-building craze on Sunday morning.

“When he got in he just kind of made himself at home,” Bertrand said. “He actually stole one beer from the refrigerator. The police say he also had a burrito.”

“We assume he was going to have a nice warm breakfast,” he added.

In addition to the beer, the man also allegedly stole a cell phone and a TV remote.

The man then tried to get out the back door, Bertrand said, but he had damaged it so badly trying to get in, he couldn’t open it.

So he called 911, using the phone at the front desk. Eventually, he did manage to get out the back door, only to run into a police officer who promptly arrested him, Bertrand said.

The suspect, later identified as Rye Daniel Wardlaw, faces a charge of 2nd-degree burglary, according to KOIN.

The man was inside the business for at least 35 minutes. That beats many people who attempt NW Escape Experience’s escape rooms — visitors usually spend an average of 50 to 58 minutes trying to get out. The record is about 33 minutes. However, Bertrand says the suspect’s time won’t count.

“He did call 911. That’s not a win. He quit,” Bertrand said.

Bertrand is excited about the business’ new claim to fame.

“We’re going to start claiming that we’re the only escape room in the nation that has 100 percent capture rate for criminals,” he said.

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