If you have watched as many movies as I have, you know exactly what not to do during a burglary. First, you don’t want to stay too long. You need to be in and out before the owners or even worse, the police, know you are there. Secondly, you don’t want to break into the one place that is literally designed to keep people trapped inside. One unfortunate burglar from Vancouver, Washington learned both of these lessons the hard way when he broke into an escape room and got trapped. Identified as 40-year-old Rye Daniel Wardlaw, the burglar broke into Northwest Escape Experience in Vancouver and had to call the police on himself when he couldn’t find a way out.
If you haven’t been to one yet, escape rooms are timed challenges where groups of customers are locked into themed rooms where they have to solve a series of intricate puzzles to be able to escape. Different escape rooms have different themes, with some designed to instill fear into people who go there.
The Northwest Escape Experience offers their clients three different rooms to choose from. One of the rooms is called the “Kill Room” which is blood-spattered such that it looks like Hannibal Lecter’s basement hideout. The room features an autopsy table, a workbench for the killer’s’ tools, and a fake body to make things more realistic. If you don’t know what you are walking into, the Kill Room can have anyone running for their life.
According to the police, Wardlaw allegedly tried to break into the businesses back door but failed. He then found his way into the electrical room of the strip mall where the business is located which luckily for him was open. At this point, Wardlaw thought his stars had finally aligned. Little did he know he was slowly digging himself into a hole he couldn’t get out of. While in the electrical room, Wardlaw punched a hole through the wall which led him to Northwest Escape Experience’s bathroom. He eventually found his way into the unlocked front door of the physical therapy shop next door where he stopped and ate a burrito. This guy had the audacity to eat in the middle of a burglary. It’s like he owned the damn place! Wardlaw then went back to NW Escape Experienced where he accidentally knocked over some large storage lockers, blocking the very door he was supposed to escape through. It was at this moment that he knew he messed up. One thing that is quite unclear is why Wardlaw thought it was best to call the police. He could have waited for the store to open in the morning then attempt to make a run for it.
Listen to the phone call:
One theory is that having damaged the back door during his break-in attempts, Wardlaw was trapped and freaked out. The owners also believe he may have walked into the Killer Room while trying to find another way out which must have had him running scared to the lobby where he called the police for help…4 times! No other burglar in history has ever been that eager to go to jail. However, by the time the police showed up, Wardlaw had managed to find a way out. But the cops spotted him hiding behind the building and arrested him. At this moment he must have been so mad at himself.
When asked why he broke in, Wardlaw said he is homeless and was just in need of shelter. According to the sheriff’s office, Wardlaw had also told the police earlier that he fled to the Escape Experience because his own house was being robbed at the time. In any case, Wardlaw was responsible for quite a bit of damage to Northwest Escape Experience’s property and is currently facing second-degree burglary charges.
The owner of Northwest Escape Experience, Tamara Bertrand, was clearly not happy after the damage to her small business, but she at least found some humor in it and even joked that they have a 0% escape rate with criminals.