Quick-Thinking 15-Year-Old Gets Scare Of Her Life; Suspect Arrested

NUTLEY, N.J. (CBS 2) — A New Jersey teenager, who waited out a terrifying home invasion in a closet, said it was the only place she could hide from a burglar while she was home alone.

Fifteen-year-old “Sam,” of Nutley,said her linen closet of blankets, shelving, sheets and towels may have saved her life.

“I just went into the closet to hide, and then I heard a thud,” she told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis on Tuesday.

She was home alone Monday afternoon, when she said her doorbell rang repeatedly. So she looked out an upstairs window and saw a face she didn’t recognize.

“I thought it was kind of suspicious because there was no car with him. He was holding a drink,” Sam said.

Her closet served as her hideout while her cell phone was her lifeline. She called her mom while the suspect — 51-year-old Ahmed Serrano, of Newark — allegedly climbed through a small window, went up the stairs and then opened the closet door.

Sam said the ordeal was terrifying.

“I just tried to stay really quiet. It was scary,” she said.

Her mom, Kathy, was at work in Manhattan.  She got a call from her scared daughter then hung up and dialed 911 in a panic.

“Not anything I wish on anybody — certainly not to any parent,” Kathy said.

The suspect left right out the front door. He was apparently scared him off by sirens from the Nutley Police Department.

“It really is the best ending you could ever imagine,” Kathy said.

Police said the suspect took mostly costume jewelry and filled up a gym bag. Police caught him carrying it just a block away. Sam went unnoticed in the closet the whole time.

“Phenomenal job, very proud of her,” Kathy said of her daughter.

Nutley police said they are now working with Bloomfield police to connect the burglary suspect to other break-ins.

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