Man arrested after boy in Wayne comes home, finds burglar

WAYNE, New Jersey (WABC) -- A brave 11-year-old boy in New Jersey thwarted a would-be robber in his home, catching him in the act and then calling police.

"My heart started pumping when I saw him," said the boy, named Alan.

He came home from school Monday in Wayne, where he heard the burglar inside a first-floor room in his house in the Pine Lakes section around 3:20 p.m.

"I thought it was my washing machine," said Alan.

But he also saw him and knew exactly what to do. He left quickly and quietly, and then flagged a neighbor.

"We called 911 and the police came right away," said the neighbor, Gail DeGraaf. "There were four police cars and detectives, and they were very supportive."

The outcome was the best possible one. Thomas J. Coughlin, 23, of Pompton Lakes, N.J., was arrested at his home and is being charged with burglary and theft.


Thomas J. Coughlin

Alan says Coughlin is his landscaper. And while the alleged motive may be a harsh dose of reality for a 6th grader: "I see no point in it," said Alan. "There's really no reason to do it unless you take drugs and want to get high or something, that's probably what he wanted to do, that's what the police told me at least."

There is one very important lesson, and an important person Alan wants to thank.

"Lock your doors, do the same thing I did, especially if he has a gun or any other type of weapon," he said. ("Just get away as fast as you can," we said.) "That's certainly what my DARE officer told me, thank you Mr. Ellis", he said.

Watch the surveillance video here:
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Surveillance video shows an 11-year-old boy coming home to find a burglar in his house.

Alan says his expertise is in math. It took him about 15 seconds to get out of the house.

A security system caught the suspect entering through a rear sliding glass patio door. No one was injured.

The Wayne Police Department confirmed the arrest.

Bail for Coughlin has been set at $50,000.
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