CHATHAM, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The victims of a brazen burglary have a warning for other New Jersey homeowners.

Three pit bulls couldn’t deter the suspect, but there is something else they could have done to protect themselves.

It was mid-morning Tuesday, when a burglar forced his way into a quaint home on Henry Drive in Chatham Township.

Janet Russell was upstairs with her husband and three pit bulls.

“I said to my husband, ‘oh one of our kids are home,” she said.

She stayed in the room with the dogs and her husband stepped out.

“So my husband came out, closed the door, and if you were standing like right here, that’s what he encountered,” she said.

The ‘that’ she’s referring to was a 240-lbs burglary suspect, who claimed he had a gun.

Mr. Russell wrestled him to the ground before he made his escape in a dark blue minivan.

It appears he had his eye on some jewelry, but in the end the family got his prescription sunglasses, and his hat.

He got away with nothing.

“He didn’t hurt anybody, but he was very brazen. I believe he heard the dogs and he still was coming in,” she said.

The door had been deadbolted.

“He either forced the way with his shoulder or kicked it in,” Det. Sgt Chris Slayton, Chatham Police, said.

Russell said the door is 25-years-old, but police said doors just five years and older can be a draw.

“You want a secured frame, a reinforced frame that’s not easy to kick into,” Slayton said.

Shatterproof glass is also recommended.

For now, the Russells have wooden blocks holding the door closed.

“I’ve been driving around town lately just looking at people’s doors and saying, ‘if I was a burglar, I would say ‘ooh, that’s a better door than that door,” Russell said. “It’s just a different world now. Never had to worry about that.”

The Russells said they’ve bought themselves an early Christmas gift; a new door and an alarm system.

For now, they’re also keeping their pit bulls downstairs.

Police also recommend leaving cars in the driveway to deter burglars from even attempting to enter your home.

 

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