WAYNE - Allen Shneyderman credits his D.A.R.E officer in school for teaching him what do if he should ever encounter an intruder in his home.
The 11-year-old was able to put that knowledge to use when he came home Monday afternoon and found a stranger inside his Beech Terrace home in Wayne Township.
"I hear a noise like someone is shuffling through papers or something or he's trying to look through drawers,” Shneyderman says. “I look around the corner, no one's there and at that very moment it stops. But then I look around and it gets louder."
The boy says he initially thought it was his grandparents inside the home, but then he and the home intruder made eye contact.
"I immediately run out of the house very frightened and see that my neighbor Gail is driving by,” Shneyderman says.
Shneyderman and his neighbor called 911 to report the crime. The suspect, identified as 23-year-old Thomas Coughlin, had already escaped by the time police arrived.
Coughlin allegedly made off with the boy’s cellphone but no other items. Shneyderman says he is glad the intruder did not steal anything else.
Coughlin was arrested at his home in Pompton Lakes Tuesday morning after he was identified by members of the public who saw photos released by the police.