An elderly couple is in good spirits after foiling a possible burglary attempt with little more than the element of surprise.
Patricia and Jack Mulkeen were fast asleep in bed in their home in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, early in the morning of Oct. 24 when their 12-year-old Wheaten Terrier, Pepper, started barking, reports WHDH.
The noise woke up 91-year-old Patricia, so she hopped out of bed and grabbed a flashlight. Since Pepper, in her old age, is usually a pretty quiet pup, Patricia figured something was up.
Assuming that the pup was getting worked up over a raccoon in the yard, Patricia walked into the dining room to have a look, not even bothering to get dressed.
But the sight that greeted her was a little different than what she expected, and it's safe to say that the feeling was mutual.
Standing in front of her was a man that police said was 28-year-old Joseph Parent.
"I wasn't frightened, I was just surprised," Patricia recalled to WHDH.
According to Patricia, Parent just said "Sorry, ma'am" and hurried out of the house through the basement.
Jack then called police to report the crime, but the potential gravity of the situation didn't stop him from having a laugh at the situation.
"My wife at 91 years old gets out of bed and she's stark naked," Jack said. "And here's this young guy in his twenties looking at a naked 91-year-old woman. That'd be enough to make him faint; it's a shock."
Police were able to track down Parent, of Hyannis, Massachusetts, who was walking around the area, reports Patch.
"The suspect -- who is well known to Cape Cod Law Enforcement -- was positively identified by the homeowners and placed under arrest," police said.
Parent had Suboxone and nine unidentified pills on him. Officers charged him with felony breaking and entering at night and two counts of drug possession, reports Patch.
While the Mulkeens' approach to scaring away an intruder was certainly effective, experts say that the best way to ward off burglars is to make your home appear as protected as possible, by either having or making it appear that you have a security alarm system, a dog and a bright lighting system, according to KB Communications.
"Probably the best precaution you can take is to make your residence an unattractive target for the would-be burglar," John DeNegre, national manager of Chubb's residential appraisers, told KB Communications.
DeNegre also recommended locking and securing windows and doors, hiding valuables and firearms and making it appear that you are home when you are really not. Setting lighting timers and asking trusty neighbors to fetch your mail can help.