By Nick Westoll Source : Global News
A Vaughan mother is speaking out after an alleged break-in attempt caught on camera on Victoria Day while she and her daughter were at home.
Debra Di Benedetto said the incident happened at around 2 p.m. Monday when a woman came to the front door of her Weston Road and Major Mackenzie Drive area home.
“She would ring the doorbell, then she’d wait about 30 seconds or so and she’d turn her back always to the camera,” she told Global News, adding she was at home with her daughter at the time while her husband was out running errands.
“I thought that was a bit suspicious, so we were very quiet in the house, just kind of observing this through the camera.”
After this occurred for a few minutes, Di Benedetto decided to confront the woman.
“I went to the front door but through the locked front door – did not open it at all – I just loudly said, ‘Hello, can I help you?’” she said.
“At that point she said, ‘Oh, is John there?’ and I said, ‘No, wrong house.’ She said, ‘Is this not 48?’ and I said, ‘No, it’s not.’”
Di Benedetto said the woman then turned and walked away. As soon as her husband returned home, she explained what happened. After they reviewed the security camera video, it left them shocked.
“Upon watching it, that is when we discovered that the silver vehicle had actually parked on the road and then two male suspects had actually already got out of the vehicle and were making their way along the side of my home towards the backyard,” Di Benedetto said, adding all three were wearing baseball hats and had backpacks while a fourth person remained in the car.
“I’m assuming that as soon as I said hello to her, she must have communicated to them, ‘Stop,’ because you can see the second male individual in the video actually stop dead in his tracks and then say, ‘Let’s go.’”
All three were then seen returning to the vehicle and leaving together.
Di Benedetto said the woman was wearing a scarf at times and it appeared she was talking into the scarf, possibly communicating with the two men. She said the incident has left her feeling “extremely frightened” and she’s still thinking about what could have happened.
“You get a lot of what-ifs. What if yesterday my daughter had gone with my husband to run that errand and I was here on my own?” Di Benedetto said.
“What if I had taken that opportunity to take a quick 10-minute shower and come out of the shower, they would have been in my home because they were making their way to the backyard trying to figure out a way to get in thinking nobody was home at the time.”
York Regional Police Const. Andy Pattenden said the behaviour seen on camera is typical of residential break-and-enters.
“They almost always happen during the day. Suspects will go to a house, knock on the door and ring a doorbell, and wait for somebody to answer the door,” he said, adding suspects will often kick open the front door or pry open a rear entry point.
Pattenden said one of Di Benedetto’s neighbours had their home broken into hours after the incident, but police haven’t confirmed a link.
He said break-and-enters continue to be an issue for officers. In 2016, police said they investigated more than 1,300 residential incidents.
Pattenden encouraged anyone with information about this or other incidents to contact police.
Meanwhile, Di Benedetto encouraged people across the GTA to take caution and not open the front door for unknown people.
“It’s not specifically this area. It’s happening in the Toronto area, it’s happening in the Markham area – it’s more common than we know,” she said.
“If it is a stranger, just acknowledge that you see them, let them know that you are in the house and hopefully that’s enough for them to just continue on and make their way to the next home.”
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