LOS ANGELES - Home surveillance video shows a man busting through the French doors of a family's home in Porter Ranch after swimming in their pool and eating from their lemon tree.
Sharon Der said the man who broke into their home is believed to be homeless. The incident happened on July 8, and Der said the man first tried breaking into her neighbor's home.
"This man approached my neighbor's home and he knocked on their door. My neighbor's wife didn't want to answer the door. He started banging aggressively and they [the neighbors] were telling him to leave," said Der.
Der said the man then hopped fences, eventually making his way into their yard.
"He used our diagonal neighbor's wooden fence and climbed over to ours," she said.
Security video shows the man swimming in the Der's family pool.
"It looked like he took a dip in the pool. He learned where we store our pool towels so he was able to use our pool towels as well. He went over to where we have a lemon tree and he had eaten some lemons off the tree. He had some sort of behavior where he looked like he was high because there was some sort of erratic behavior," she said.
The video then shows the man attempting to break into the dining room doors. One of the doors was already damaged from a different incident, and when the doors don't budge, he tries the living room doors.
All of the doors were locked with deadbolts, however, the man busted his way through the living room doors.
"He was pushing the door open with a towel. I'm assuming not to leave any fingerprints so he pushed it in. I think it was on his fourth try where he actually went in. When it gave way, it bent the door and the deadbolt slid out," she said.
Der was upstairs on the opposite side of the house with her two teenage kids, ages 13 and 16, when the man broke into the home. The family was unaware of the break-in until LAPD showed up at their door. Their neighbors called police following their encounter with the man, and LAPD showed up at the Der's residence to follow up.
"A police officer knocked on the door and we opened it and they had asked if we had known if someone entered into our home and our property, and we actually didn't know and we checked cameras and it was all there. That was scary. It was very invasive," said Der.
Der believes the man only stayed in their home for a short while before running off with a backpack because he heard her son's footsteps coming down the stairs.
"My son, a 16-year-old, is husky. When he's running down the hardwood stairs, he's just so heavy-footed and we believe that's what scared this man off," she said.
Der said she is thankful they were unaware of the intruder and did not come face to face with him.
"We just praise God and I'm getting chills, that nothing bad came of this. After debriefing and contemplating it, it could have just been so much worse with all the stories that we hear," she said.
The man surpassed all of the many safeguards the Der family had in place, including their eight cameras.
"We have no trespassing signs. We have multiple cameras. We have an alarm system. We have ADT signs. If someone wants to get on your property, they will. It doesn't matter what you have. We thought we were safe, but we weren't," she said.
Der said they have incorporated even more security measures following the incident.
"We tried to properly secure our home that night and had a contractor come out so we've just been planning every single day and have consultants come out to see what we can do to maximize our security. I had nightmares that night and didn't sleep for two nights after that," she said.
The family filed a police report with LAPD. Der said officers told her the man was "homeless and high."
Der said one officer mentioned it may not meet the full criteria for a burglary case.
"She said in her opinion, he didn't meet the criteria for a true burglar because he wasn't masked up. He was exposing identifiers like tattoos," she said.
The family is hoping the man is caught and is also working with community members to determine if there's a way to relocate some of the unhoused people in the area into housing.
"Obviously we want him found but we also hear about catch and release where they're booking and three hours later, they're out," she said.
Der said she is grateful her neighbors called the police and described the neighborhood as safe and tight-knit.
Der said she wants other homeowners to be aware of incidents like hers to avoid more problems in the future.
"I would tell them don't underestimate it. I know, as a Christian, we want to serve and help, and that's great, but you also want to keep your family safe. You just don't know who is capable and anyone is liable and capable so don't underestimate what they can do," she said.
The man has not yet been arrested by authorities.
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