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article imageQuick thinking teen calls 911, hides while intruders invade home

By Leigh Goessl     Dec 18, 2011 in Crime
Harrison Township - A teen's quick thinking secured her own safety and contributed to authorities catching the two men who were burglarizing her family's Michigan home.
The teen, who was home sick from school, was alone when two men knocked on her door, and when she did not answer, they entered her family's house. She "channeled her father's words" according to the Detroit Free Press.
Those words were, "think now, panic later."
When 13-year-old Chloe Symington saw the men moving about downstairs, she ran to her room, curled up in a ball to hide on the side of her bed and called 911. WXYZ reported the incident happened at 2:17 p.m. What happened next was a terrifying situation.
Chloe whispered to the 911 operator, "I think there's someone in my house. I don't know who." She explained to the dispatcher she was in her room upstairs, but saw the men downstairs looking through drawers.
"I'm 13 years old, I don't know what to do," the teen said.
The dispatcher was asking the teen some questions when Chloe stopped talking; the teen had gone quiet as the dispatcher was asking questions. Listening to the 911 call, the line goes silent for a long pause.
It turns out the intruder had entered her room.
"Do you have a closet in your room?", the dispatcher asked.
"Yeah, I think they're in the room," Chloe very quietly responded.
Despite the fact he was only three feet away, he somehow did not see Chloe. Reportedly he noted to his accomplice that the TV and lights were on in the room, and no one was home. After he'd left the room, the teen then wedged herself under the bed, during which time she was remained on the phone with the 911 dispatcher.
As the trespassers continued to rifle through the home, the dispatcher and Chloe remained on the line as deputies arrived to the home; the dispatcher told Chloe to stay in her room until given the word the situation was safe. The call lasted a total of 18 minutes as police arrived to stake out the situation and apprehend the suspects.
“I wasn’t even breathing,” she told the Detroit Free Press on Friday. “I was scared out of my mind,” Chloe said. “I don’t know how he didn’t see me, but he didn’t.”
Her quick thinking helped authorities catch the two suspects, including the description of the suspects and also the details of the dark-colored van she saw prior to the knock on her door.
The Detroit Free Press reported Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said, "She did a great job," adding, "Obviously, you never know what to expect. And such a young girl, knowing someone broke into her house, she did a great job remaining calm."
Authorities caught two men, Daniel Laflin, 19, and Michael Zdanukiewicz, 19, both of Clinton Township, and were charged with home invasion, conspiracy, larceny of firearms and assaulting/resisting a police officer. Allegedly they'd left the Symington house with the family's Christmas presents which included electronics and jewelry. They also had taken a gun that belonged to the teen's father.
It turns out one of the two suspects was familiar to the family. If convicted, the suspects could get up to 20 years in prison.
"I couldn't be more proud of her," said Noel Symington, Chloe's father. "A 13-year-old girl took two criminals off the street with her composure and her strength, and we can't ask for more than that," Fox Detroit reported.
More about chilling 911 call, Teen, Intruders
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