TAMARAC (CBS4) – Fourteen year old Valery Garces was home babysitting her 10-year-old sister and 10-year-old cousin last Friday when she heard a knock at the front door.
She knows she’s not supposed to open the door for anyone.
“I heard a knock out of nowhere,” she said. “I looked through the peephole and I didn’t know him.”
She went upstairs, looked out a window and didn’t recognize either of the men approaching her house. Their car didn’t look familiar either.
She told her sister and cousin that the three of them would stay upstairs.
The family dog – Minnie, a teacup Yorkie – had other ideas. The dog ran downstairs and Valery followed.
That’s when she heard a frightening sound at the back of the house.
“(The thieves) kicked the window,” she told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “My dog got scared and then I ran upstairs with my dog.”
First, though, Valery grabbed a knife. When she got upstairs she told her sister and cousin to get in the bathroom and lock the door. The trio waited with the dog.
Valery said she was frightened.
“I’m like, what is going to happen to me?” she said. “I don’t know what to do.”
Downstairs, the men burst in through the sliding glass door. Photos taken by the family show glass all over the floor. While the girls hid, the men ransacked the house. The girls could hear them.
“They came into my room first,” Valery said. “They were searching everywhere.”
Photos show how the men ransacked the home, rifling through drawers. They stole cash, a computer, a camera and jewelry.
The girls did their best to stay perfectly still.
“We were really quiet,” Valery said. “I told (my sister and cousin) not to make any movements or anything. They stayed in one spot.”
But the emotion got to them. The girls’ started crying and Minnie started barking. That drew the attention of the thieves.
“They came back in the room and they tried to open the door,” Valery said. “They were shaking (the door.) I was scared.”
After two tries to open the locked door, the thieves gave up and left.
“I was so terrified,” Valery said. “I didn’t know what to do if they had gotten in.”
The whole ordeal lasted 5 to 10 minutes, Valery said. After the men left, she, her sister and cousin ran to a neighbor’s house for help.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office is investigating. CBS 4 News has learned there have been other home burglaries in the area of Catalina Isles recently.
Investigators say it is common for thieves to knock on a front door to see if anyone is home. If no one answers, the thieves will head to a back door to break in.
BSO recommends putting up security cameras at your home or installing hurricane windows which are difficult to break. They also recommend that if a stranger knocks on the door, don’t open it. However, you should let the person outside know that someone is home. This might prevent the person from breaking in.
If you have any information on the crime, call Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.