Newton and Genna Thomas tucked their three boys into bed Sunday night and went to sleep in their home in White Rock Valley. They were startled just after midnight by a noise upstairs.

Genna went up to check on the boys, but they were sleeping, so she went back to bed. She heard the noise again, and this time found the door to the playroom suspiciously closed. She told her husband she thought they had an intruder.

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She was right.

A man, apparently homeless, had snuck into their backyard and through an unlocked door from the patio to the garage. He walked into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator and drank a half gallon of milk and a quart of half-and-half. He warmed up a plate of spaghetti and headed upstairs.

The Thomases got the boys out safely, and Dallas police arrived within 3 minutes. Officers found the playroom door barricaded with furniture from the inside and the man hiding in a closet.

Looking back, the Thomases are thankful they didn’t have a face-to-face confrontation with the man as he clanked in the kitchen or wandered down the hallway.

“We never saw him until the police brought him out,” Genna told me. “He was clearly on something, and they said he became more agitated in the police car. He was really dirty and really smelly, so they guessed he’d been on the street at least a couple of days. He passed our tablets and other valuables, but he only wanted food. He kept saying, ‘This is my house. They are the intruders.’”

Dallas police have requested video footage of the man from neighbors who may have captured him on their home security systems. They are also reminding Lake Highlands residents to lock your doors, lock your gates and set your alarms to avoid being the next victim of a similar crime.

“The police told us he’d done this before,” said Genna. “They suggested investing in outdoor security cameras and additional lighting” to discourage similar crime in the future.

Genna had high praise for the quick reaction of DPD officers during the standoff.

“The police had a helicopter and six or eight cops – they were so efficient,” she said. “They could not have been more helpful, kind, thorough and reassuring. We are so thankful for them.”