Roomba mistaken for a burglar by spooked homeowners

Police are called to investigate possible home intruders and find a hard-working robotic vacuum instead.

Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read

Roomba vacuum robots clean floors without human supervision. 


Hearing something go bump in the night is rarely fun. But when you think someone has broken into your home, the sounds can be even more horrifying. A North Carolina couple watching a movie in their bedroom thought that's exactly what happened. 

Husband and father Thomas Milam thought he heard an intruder, and called the police. While waiting for the police to arrive, Milam was prepared to use his past military training to disarm the intruder. 

"As we were talking, we heard more noises downstairs and were increasingly alarmed," Milam said on the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office Facebook page. "All my military training came back to me. I started analyzing the path the intruder would take, their line of fire if they entered the room in certain ways, and where we should be to decrease our risk of getting hurt."

After searching the home, the police made a discovery. The noisy burglar was actually a Roomba robotic vacuum the Milam family had purchased two days before the incident. 

Watch this: Battling bot vacs: iRobot Roomba S9 Plus vs. Neato Botvac D7 Connected

"Somehow it turned itself on and was vacuuming our house without us having scheduled it," Milam wrote. "It had gotten stuck in the hallway below our stairs which is close to our room, and it kept bumping into our walls which explained the noises we kept hearing."

While the incident was embarrassing for the couple, the story has a happy ending, with the Roomba getting its own nickname.

"We decided to name our robot vacuum Harry, the sticky bandit from Home Alone," Milam wrote.

The Forsyth County Sheriff Office and Roomba maker  iRobot didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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