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Burglar broke into an escape room — and called 911 when he couldn’t get out, cops say

Police say Rye Wardlaw broke into the Northwest Escape Experience, an “escape room” business, early Sunday in Vancouver, Washington, and then called 911 multiple times because he couldn’t get out.
Police say Rye Wardlaw broke into the Northwest Escape Experience, an “escape room” business, early Sunday in Vancouver, Washington, and then called 911 multiple times because he couldn’t get out. Screenshot from KOIN

That's one way to turn yourself in.

Police told KPTV that 40-year-old Rye Wardlaw broke into the Northwest Escape Experience — where people try to get out of themed "escape rooms" — but eventually called 911 multiple times for help after he couldn't find a way out.

Rob Bertrand, who owns the business with his wife Tamara, said he received a call from police early Sunday morning. They said someone had broken into his business in Vancouver, Washington, according to KPTV.

“I woke my wife up," he told the TV station, "and I was like, ‘we gotta get up, we got things going down!’”

Wardlaw called 911 and said someone had broken into his house so he hid in the escape room, police say. But there was just one problem: He gave authorities a fake address where there was no house, according to court documents obtained by The Daily News.

Police say they found Wardlaw at around 4 a.m. as he was walking near the strip mall that houses the escape room, which he managed to escape after calling 911. According to The Oregonian, he allegedly argued that he was never inside the escape room — but then confessed he broke in because he has "has no place to be."

Family members take the challenge of escaping from a locked room within one hour at Escape Room KC.

So Wardlaw, who is homeless, told authorities that he used keys he found inside the strip mall to enter an electrical room, according to court records. He exited that room and then went into another business through an unlocked front door to eat a burrito in the bathroom, police told The Oregonian.

That business shared an unlocked door with the escape room, according to The Daily News, and the man used it to get inside.

Wardlaw stole a beer from the fridge, police told KOIN, and also took a cellphone and TV remote.

But the burglar couldn't get out at first because he damaged the escape room's back door, police say.

"He apparently didn’t know how to use the lock on the front door," Tamara Bertrand told KPTV, "and was stuck."

The man, who also damaged lockers and flowers in the business, called 911 four times before finally getting out, Tamara Bertrand said in an interview with The Daily News.

After an interview, police arrested Wardlaw and charged him with second-degree burglary, according to KOIN. He has a $40,000 bail.

The escape room opened back up on Tuesday, KOIN reported. Rob Bertrand said he is trying to look for humor in the situation.

"We started thinking about it and yeah, it's really funny," he said. "I'm proud to say I'm the only escape room in the Northwest that has a 100% capture rate of criminals."

Sometimes plans don't quite work out as intended. Take a look at some would-be criminals who could have used a practice run or two.

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