You’re going to be very impressed by what Carolyn Isler did Monday morning. But she hopes you won’t follow in her footsteps.
After finding a burglar inside her house, the University Park resident knocked him to the ground and held him down long enough to get help from a young man who lives next door. With her neighbor’s assistance, Isler subdued the burglar until a police officer arrived.
“My advice is do not do what I did,” Isler said. “People are like, ‘Oh, good for you.’ And I’m like, ‘Listen, it wasn’t a smart thing to do.’ ”
The drama began at around 8:30 in the morning. Isler, who had secured several tickets to Monday’s tie-breaker game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays, had put an extra pair up for sale online. When a buyer called, she went home to take down the listing.
As Isler entered her house in the 4100 block of Windsor Parkway, the first odd thing she noticed was that one of her foyer closets was open. But it was chilly that morning, so she figured her roommate had grabbed a jacket on his way out.
The open door actually reminded Isler that she’d forgotten something she needed for her job as a general contractor, so she grabbed that item from the closet and put it in her car. When she re-entered the house, she noticed a package, which she had been intending to mail to a friend, was ripped open on the kitchen counter.
Isler owns a large dog — a weimaraner named Peyton — whom she said would never do something like that.
“I was like, ‘I can’t believe this,’ ” she said. “I was like, ‘Peyton, what are you doing? And he was acting a little odd, and I assumed it was because he ripped up the package.”
While she was talking to her dog, Isler heard a strange noise from her office. She still wasn’t terribly alarmed, though, because she knew friends and clients would be dropping by throughout the day to pick up Rangers tickets.
“I was still thinking, you know, ‘What knucklehead is coming in my house, looking for these tickets?’ ” Isler said. “So, not threatened at all, I said, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ ”
She heard a commotion and ran to the office, where she found the burglar. He tried to get past her, but she grabbed his arm and yelled, “Stop! Get down!” Isler also grabbed the back of his shirt and tried to push him down.
“He managed to get out the door,” she said, “and I was still holding on to him, and after maybe 5 to 10 feet, I was able to get his arm really high behind his back, and I pushed him forward and pushed him down on his knees.”
Isler was unable to dial 911, but her neighbors’ son, who is a college student, happened to be outside, so she called for help.
“When I had the guy down, and I couldn’t dial 911, I’m like, ‘Now what am I going to do?’ ” Isler said. “That’s when it started to hit me, like, ‘What are you doing?’ You know what I’m saying? That was the first time that reason kind of set in.”
University Park police arrested Dennis Wayne Horton, 53, in front of Isler's house and charged him with burglary. The incident report says he tried to steal a $2,500 Concord Mariner watch, an $1,800 Lenovo laptop, and several $500 camera lenses. Isler said he also took two beers from the fridge.
“Personally, I didn’t feel threatened,” said Isler, a former triathlete and self-described “tomboy.” “If this had been a big strong guy, obviously I would have not thought that I could hold him and stop him.”
Officer Lita Snellgrove said the UPPD does not recommend that residents take matters into their own hands, as Isler did.
“She’s very lucky that he did not have any kind of weapon or did not try to fight back and hurt her,” Snellgrove said.
Isler said she never would have expected her house to be burglarized in broad daylight, but security contractors she works with have since told her that mornings are ideal for criminals, because people are taking kids to school, going to the gym, etc.
“The most important thing to come out of it is that my thought process, that 9 o’clock morning is not a dangerous time, is completely wrong,” Isler said.