If you follow me on Instagram, you may have caught my peeping tom story from a few years ago. I didn’t go into TOO much detail because I didn’t want to scare any of you, but I do feel the need to share what happened in order to spread awareness and show you what systems we have in place to protect ourselves, in hopes that I can help you guys protect yourselves, too.
Let me start by saying that Jose and I added Vivint Smart Home to our first home on Craftsman Drive, in North Carolina, about 10 years ago. Jose was in a heavy deployment cycle, and for those of you that don’t come from a military family, deployments are much more than your service member leaving for one long period of time. There are “work-ups” or training exercises from the moment they find out they are deploying, requiring them to leave home for a few weeks to months. In other words, there is a lot of being left home alone… and for most, being left in a town you are not from, with longtime friends and family miles and miles away. We added the Vivint system to our home to add a level of comfort and security,and we enjoyed the peace of mind knowing our home was safe and always protected.
When we moved to Michigan a few years ago, we had a new Vivint System installed in the new house. And I was happy we did. Here’s why…
THE PEEPING TOM
One night there was a small house party across the street. When I let our dogs out to go potty in the front, I noticed someone outside was acting a little strange. I kept returning to the front windows and noticed he kept getting more weird as the night went on. Across the street was the only sidewalk that went down the neighborhood, and he was walking back and forth the span of our house. Finally, I called Jose up to the front bedroom and we peaked between curtains. Jose watched him walk around the side of our house (the side we couldn’t see out of). We lived on a corner lot, and it wasn’t that uncommon for people to cut the corner, go through our yard a little bit, to get to the side road. Jose went to the back bedroom, to look out, ensuring me that he was just cutting through.
Jose looked out the back bedroom window, waiting for him to get back into view, but he said he couldn’t see him.
All of a sudden he looks back at me and says, call the cops.
The reason he didn’t see him is because the guy was hiding behind a bush right behind our house. I’m talking maybe 15 yards away from our back slider. He was just sitting in the treeline smoking a cigarette.
By the time the cops shows up, he worked his way out of view and essentially disappeared. Cops couldn’t find him, and when they went across the street to the house party, nobody confessed to being over by our house.
The police told us that they would drive by our neighborhood a little more frequent in hopes of catching him again.
Fast Forward 7 days, the following weekend.
Jose and I are laying in bed watching a tv show. I tell him to pause the show because I heard something… Something that sounded like someone talking.
We pause it… wait a minute or two, hear nothing, and turn the show back on. Keep in mind its close to midnight.
All of a sudden our door bell chimes.
Jose heads down to see who it is, and it is our friendly neighbor right next door (we’ll call him Scott), who is a bigger guy, holding a scrawny guy smoking a cigarette.
It was nearing the end of winter, so it was pretty cold out during the day, and even colder at night. Scott was sitting in his car, having a cigarette trying to keep warm. The car wasn’t running, so unless you looked in the car you would not have known he was there.
While Scott was sitting in there, he saw a guy come up his driveway and cut into yard right in between our two houses. Getting out of the car, he came around the back of our house to find the peeping Tom a few feet away from our back slider.
He confronted the guy and brought him up to our front door, to tell Jose what happened.
Now, I know Jose was in the Marine Corps. I mean 10 years of our marriage practically was all Military, but I’ve never seen him like this. I didn’t hear him raise his voice, he didn’t touch the guy or threaten him at all. But before you knew it, Jose had him, under his own will, sitting on the ground, legs crossed- facing away from our house waiting for the cops to arrive. During this waiting period, he admitted to Jose he had been looking in our windows for a long period of time, somewhere around 3 months. (I know right!)
I couldn’t help but go back through my mind, at all the nights the dogs were randomly barking at the back slider, thinking they saw their shadow, or a rabbit in the back yard… I mean I could go on and on.
Come to find out the individual was the homeowner across the street from our house at about the 10 O’Clock position. I could throw a baseball from our front door and sail it well over his house – we were so close.
Finally the cops arrived after about 10 minutes. Scott described what was going on, we described what happened and all that he told us, and the peeping tom (himself) admitted to it all as well. The peeping, the doing it for three plus months… he admitted to it all. Jose and I are thinking, well that does it – he admitted to it. They’ll take him away… right?
I am not sure where this is true, but talking to a few people from different states they were informed of the same thing. If a peeping tom is not caught in the act by the police… he doesn’t get taken away! I mean this guy lives only a few yards across the street and they let him walk right back home.
We were so upset and worried this wasn’t going to be the end of it.
Scott and his wife came back over to us to ask what all happened and just simply talk about it again. And this is where it gets every more scary…
Scott’s wife brought something to our attention that just both had the hairs on our neck stand up.
See earlier that day, Jose met me at my store, The Found Cottage. We had some errands to run so we left his car at the store, ran our errands, grabbed dinner, and decided we’d get the car tomorrow and went back home.
When Scott caught him, he was only a few feet away from our slider… His wife pointed out, “I don’t think he thought Jose was home. His car isn’t in the driveway.”
Key the goosebumps. Ahh!
I mean this entire time he has been in the bushes or treeline a few yards away from the house. But now nearly an arms length away from our back door.
I am a crime show watching kind of girl. I watch it all from the Forensic Files to the Live PD and everything in between. And I know there is a stat or correlation out there that links Peeping Toms to later elevated assaults and I think this was the next step for him.
Fast forward a few more weeks. The creeper was served with a PPO due to our situation. In a lapse of judgement, he thought it would be funny to ding dong ditch our house (that we recently added Vivint outdoor cameras to). The cameras caught him coming from his house, ringing our doorbell and running away. We alerted the cops, showed them the video and they went across the street to ask them what is going on. In doing so, they had enough probable cause from smell, to search their house with a K9 unit and found that they were illegally growing marijuana plants in their basement and selling pills out of the house. He went to jail for a day or two and then was back across the street.
During all of this, Jose was working a second shift position. He was leaving in mid-day around 2pm and coming home close to midnight. I was alone and being directly across the street that guy knew it too.
Thankfully we had our Vivint System already installed. The cops were aware of the situation at hand, and at an alert from our Vivint system, they’d be on scene in no time flat. Not to mention the loud alarm sound that comes from it when it’s going off.
Needless to say we needed to move out of there, and we were so thankful and fortunate to find White Cottage Farm. A few months after the incident we were out and moved into the farm, but the feeling of being watched never left.
If you have ever had a peeping tom or had your home broken into, you know what I am talking about. Before I would pass it off like it was nothing, but the amount of emotional stress the thought of someone lurking around or looking in windows is traumatic. He took my enjoyment of my house away from me. To this day, small little noises or motion lights on the farm picking up rabbits sets me over the edge. Honestly, having a Vivint Smart Home with sensors and cameras all around keeps me able. Able to visit the sheep, decorate the porch, sit in the greenhouse, and simply enjoy our farm. It makes us happy to come home to a safe house and we are beyond grateful for our Vivint Smart Home System.
OUR VIVINT SMART HOME // PRODUCTS WE LOVE
I’m not typically a fear-based person, and I’m not looking to scare anyone into making any rash decisions. But, peeping toms aside, we love the peace of mind and close calls that our security system, cameras, and other smart products have given us.
Currently on our farmhouse, we have the following products:
- Vivint Security System: allows us to arm/disarm the house from our app. The system monitoring offers protection with the latest technological equipment 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- Window and door sensors on every entry point into the home so we are alerted via the app whenever a window or door is opened.
- Nest Thermostat that allows us to control the temperature from the Vivint app. This has saved us money on our utility bills, by better managing the temperature better within our house!
- Smart Lock: this allows for us to let people into the house from our phone, or breath easy when we think we locked ourselves out. Over the years we have had builders, painters, dog babysitters, and plant waterers, come to the house when we are away. We can give them their own codes to disarm the system at the panel, or simply disarm it from our phone when they get there.
We can set up notifications on everything whether the house is armed or not, and Vivint reminds us when windows or doors are left open, or even an open and close notification lets you know when people come and go. Going on business trips to Texas or working at the store all day, I know I can come home to a secure home and be just as excited as the first day we pulled into the driveway.
MY VIVINT DEAL FOR YOU!
If you are interested in adding Vivint Smart Home to our home or simply want to talk to someone to get more information, you can call my very own Vivint customer service number (where I answer!- kind of) at 855-301-1210 or visit http://vivint.love/lizmarie
And if you sign up with my code LIZMARIE you will get a $100 Vivint Gift Card!
I work really hard to try to inspire design to achieve a Warm and Cozy space everyone enjoys, right in their home. And part of the coziness is feeling safe. It’s something I think is SO important and worth the investment. So thank you for stopping by the blog today & every day to see what we are up to… it means the world to me! Xx Stay Safe!
This blog post is sponsored by Vivint Smart Home!