A 3-year-old boy in Waikanae, Australia, kept complaining to his mother, children's author Melissa Rodrigues, about "a man with a light” outside of his window at night.
"I thought, obviously he's just had a bad dream,” Rodrigues told the Sydney Morning Herald.
That was until June 26. "At 5.30 in the morning he let out an absolutely gut-wrenching scream from his room,” Rodrigues said. "I knew something wasn't right.”
The boy guided his father outside, where they found footprints and discovered their gate open. The family recalled that some extension cords and a toolbox had also gone missing recently.
The next night, Rodrigues sent her son to stay with his grandmother and had a stakeout with her husband. After deciding a standard home security system would be too costly, they downloaded the smartphone app Salient Eye, which captures images when the camera senses motion and sends them to the user’s email.
The intruder came to the house at 4:40 a.m.
"It gave me the shock of a lifetime because, even though I was waiting for it, I wasn't expecting to see him," she said. Rodrigues told the New Zealand Herald that she was able to call the police "in literally seconds.”
Police were able to apprehend the suspect.
Rodrigues credits the makeshift security system for the intruder’s arrest. "It meant we didn't have to put ourselves in harm's way to look for him…” she said.
Senior Sergeant Anita Dixon of Kapiti Police agreed. "The attending police staff were able to recognize him from the images captured on the device," she said.
The offender turned out to be a teenager.