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Just a Thought - Standoff can't stop Valentine's

Valentine’s Day 2019 was very special to me, offering more than was expected. 

In a rarity when it comes to 911 calls, a homeowner called E-911 reporting that her residence was being burglarized as she watched on video surveillance. I could hear McMinnville Police Lt. Mark Mara questioning that information, due to the uncommonness of the situation. 

As Lt. Mara stood outside the home, he asked the dispatcher to question exactly where in the home the individuals were located. They were in the upstairs bedrooms. Comments were made about them acting “frantic” at that time. When Mara reported that the residence was surrounded, I went to the scene. 

The time was approximately 3:45 p.m. I made one call as I headed toward Bybee Branch Road and received a response of “be careful sweetie.” I am notorious for pushing the boundaries during times like this and a word of caution is always welcomed. 

At the scene, I was hiding behind cars and darting from one to another. I made my way to in front of the home and had a clear view of the front door. There, I was crouched behind one of the city’s new SUVs. Using the vehicle as a shield, I leaned to the side and began snapping pictures of the action, which I had a clear view of from that location. I was so close that I could hear the negotiator urging anyone inside to end this peacefully. No response. 

The tense moments stretched into several minutes. Then to 30 minutes. No response from inside the home. Officers suited up and prepared to enter. I thought, “This is it” and “Thank goodness.” I had taken a couple hundred pictures and my body was beginning to feel a little stiff and painful in the twisted position that I had taken. I wasn’t sure how much longer I would last. 

To my utter disappointment, officers existed the residence empty handed. No one was home. The awesome pictures I had wanted of two intruders being escorted out in handcuffs and heads hanging weren’t going to happen. 

After looking through more than 200 pictures, obtaining the information and typing everything up, it was close to 5 p.m. and I felt horrible. You see, earlier that day when my boyfriend dropped me off a beautiful boutique of flowers that he shaped into a heart and attached an “XOXO” balloon I had promised to leave work at 4 p.m. for our first Valentine’s together. Specifically, I said “I don’t care if Warren County is burning down, I’m leaving work at 4 p.m.” 

My call at 3:45 p.m., as you can imagine, was to apologize for not keeping that promise. Robert was very understanding. When I finally arrived at 5:30 p.m., I felt even worse. He had a salad, spaghetti, card, stuffed bear, flowers, dessert and a drink waiting on me – all that after heart-shaped flowers and a balloon. I hope detectives figure out what made me an hour late for what was the best Valentine’s celebration ever.   

Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.