Note: we are republishing this story amid recent reports of a surge in crime and robberies across America during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Five people were arrested and charged after attempting to break into a Charlotte, North Carolina, home while police were inside.
The homeowner reportedly arrived to his townhouse to find people inside attempting to steal from him. He managed to back away from the home without being noticed and proceeded total 911.
"I can just imagine him walking in there, not noticing that. It'd be a much different situation," neighbor Kathryn Ruland told WBTV.
Police arrived to the home while 24-year-old Javonte Cathcart and 33-year-old Johnny Penny were still inside and arrested them both. Unaware that authorities were inside investigating the incident, three more suspects returned to the home two hours later.
The suspects, 20-year-old Malik Long, 22-year-old Khalil Wallace and 16-year-old Jamaka Culbreath were all arrested after attempting to flee the scene once they realized the police presence.
The three suspects were charged for the second break-in attempt, while Cathcart and Penny were charged with felony breaking and entering, as well s attempted larceny. Long was charged with felony breaking and entering in addition to possession of stolen goods.
Wallace, in addition to charges for the attempted burglary, was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of marijuana.
"You hear stuff like this, and you have to be more precautious even in a nice neighborhood like this," neighbor Jhane Johnson said.
"I lived in North Carolina for most of my life. I only lived about 3 hours from Charlotte. These are some of the most stupid criminals I have heard about!! Glad they were caught and charged," one reader commented on Facebook.
"Cocky b*****ds. Lock them up and throw away the key. Chances are they will get an education on how to commit other crimes from their fellow inmates while they are in prison," another wrote.
"Man how stupid can they be? They were lucky the home owner didn't just shoot them! That should have been happened to them," another added.
In a similar incident, a Florida man was arrested after attempting to break into an unmarked police car while officers were sitting inside.
Stephen Titland was caught on surveillance footage attempting to break into seven parked vehicles on a street in Trinity Oaks, Florida, the New York Daily News reported. The next day he tried again in an unmarked car that had been left unlocked. Titland was unaware that there were deputies sitting inside the car. The deputies had been working on busting thieves and arrested Titland for the break-in -- as well as identifying him as the suspect from the previous night's attempt.
Titland faced charges of attempted burglary, loitering and prowling, auto burglary and violating probation. He was, at the time of the arrest, on probation for a previous burglary conviction.