By Pat Maurer
Imagine walking into your living room in the wee hours of the morning and discovering a stranger standing in your home…
What would you do? Chances are it wouldn’t be what you think. You might just surprise yourself.
That is exactly what happened to Babbette Belcher in the early morning hours Tuesday at her home in Dancer Subdivision in Harrison.
Barely over five feet tall or 100 pounds, she lives in the home just west of Budd Lake with her six-year old daughter, a grown daughter and a four-year old grandson. Her older daughter and grandson weren’t at home Monday night.
“I was dozing in my bedroom with my daughter and with the TV going since I have a hard time sleeping.” Babbette said. “Just before 6 a.m. I got up and went toward the kitchen for a snack. I saw the front door was forced open [it had been locked] and a man was standing there. He started screaming for ‘Dawn’ to forgive him.” She said she swore at the man and yelled, ‘There’s no Dawn here!’
She continued, “I didn’t think about anything. I ran back to my bedroom, grabbed my phone, a gun and some brass knuckles and came back out. The man acted like he was sloppy drunk. He had fallen into the closet by the front door. I waived the gun at him, yelled ‘You better run!’ and said, ‘I’m calling the police!’”
And that is exactly what the man did. According to the record on her cell phone, she dialed 9-1-1 at 6:04 a.m. and reported the man in the house. Meanwhile, she said he got up out of the closet and ran back outside into the front yard, stumbling through the snow. “I chased him through the snow in the yard until he got into his pickup, then he started it and spun out of the driveway.”
Later, around 7:14 a.m. she said she called the Sheriff’s Department to see if the man had been caught and arrested. “I had described him to the 9-1-1 dispatcher as blond, in his late 40s about 5 foot 8 or 9 inches tall. They said a man had been picked up for DUI near Glen’s Market that fit that description, but I haven’t heard if he was the same one.”
“When it all happened I wasn’t afraid. I was shocked to see him there and then the adrenalin kicked in. But afterwards I was terrified,” she said. “I haven’t been able to sleep since it happened.” She said her six-year old, the only other one home at the time, was upset over the commotion but didn’t see the intruder. She said she had thought the incident might be related to a recent Meth lab bust by BAYANET in the neighborhood.
She also called a brother who is a State Police Trooper about the incident. “He said he believed it was a random person who was drunk and lost.”
She said she found out later from another neighbor that a woman named Dawn with the same color of house as hers lives just a street over. “I was told she even looks like me. I guess he came to the wrong house,” she said.
It may have only been a mistake, but Belcher isn’t taking any chances. She is changing all the locks and having an alarm system installed in her home.
“I’ve never had anything like this happen before, Belcher said. “But, when something like this happens it really brings people together. My neighbors have been wonderful and they are watching out for me and for each other, keeping an eye out for any strange vehicles in the area.” She added, “We’re talking about organizing a neighborhood watch for our area. We’re not going to tolerate this kind of thing in our neighborhood anymore.”