David Chang

Teen Hiding in Closet Helps Police Capture Burglars: Officials

Berlin Borough police responded to a report of a burglary after a teenager inside the home called to report he was hiding in the closet of the basement with at least one other relative.

Officers responded to the Berlin, Camden County home Friday afternoon after a teen called to report the sound of broken glass and footsteps coming from the main level of his parent's home.

"Someone just broke into my house," the teen says in a 911 call obtained by NBC10.

"Did you see them come in," the operator asks.

"No, I heard them break the window," the teen replies.

"Okay, stay on the line with me," the operator says. "Where are you at now?"

"In my basement," the teen says. "They could be coming down. I'm not sure."


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The 15-year-old boy stayed on the line and continued to hide in a closet.

"I do, I do. I hear footsteps," the teen whispers. "Please, please hurry up."

"They're there," the operator says as police arrive. "You may hear them okay? You're doing fine."

When police arrived an officer located a woman sitting in the passenger seat of a running car with no driver present, investigators said. The woman was uncooperative but did admit she did not live in the neighborhood, according to investigators. 

Other officers began checking the home and located the break in at the back of the house and created a perimeter around the house. Officers were able to remove the teens from the basement safely. Lieutenant William Beasley, one of the officers who arrived, praise the teen who reported the burglary.

"This young man is to be commended," Lieutenant Beasley said. "He maintained his composure throughout this whole event. As a police officer and as a parent I couldn't have been more pleased with how this young man reacted."

Police say they located a male burglar inside a closet after checking the upstairs. After a brief struggle, the male was successfully taken into custody, according to investigators.

The suspects were identified as James Clerkin Jr. and Alexis Diamond. After further investigation, police found Clerkin had multiple arrests for burglary, including some felony charges.

Clerkin is facing multiple charges including burglary and criminal mischief. After being unable to post bail, he was moved to Camden County Jail. Diamond was also given multiple charges but was released after providing a taped statement of the incident, police said.

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