Two local business owners received an early morning call from law enforcement Sunday after a burglar broke into their escape room and couldn’t find his way out.
Deputies with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office say the suspect, identified as Rye Wardlaw, damaged the escape room and couldn’t escape, so he called police for help.
Rob Bertrand and his wife, Tamara, own the escape room, Northwest Escape Experience, which is located in a Vancouver strip mall.
While in an escape room, participants are locked in a room together and must find clues, solve puzzles and compete against the clock to make it out.
Rob and Tamara say Wardlaw did so much damage to the back-exit door at the escape room that he couldn’t open it to run away.
“He apparently didn’t know how to use the lock on the front door and was stuck,” Tamara said.
So, he called 911, and told law enforcement he was calling from the escape room because his home was being burglarized.
Deputies then called Rob and Tamara.
“I woke my wife up and I was like, ‘we gotta get up, we got things going down!’” Rob said.
Rob says the burglar opened a door, pushed over lockers, destroyed flowers, then came in and made himself at home.
Deputies say Wardlaw ran into trouble when he tried to escape. According to deputies, he broke the backdoor knob, panicked and called 911 several times.
He provided a fake address to deputies, so they responded to the escape room where he was calling from. It’s a funny twist of fate that isn’t entirely funny to Rob and Tamara.
“I feel violated,” Rob said. ‘We’re a small business. We put our heart, soul and money into this place to make it work. Our goal is to bring fun to families and businesses, and it doesn’t feel good to get taken advantage of.”
Deputies say that by the time they got to the strip mall, Wardlaw had made his way outside.
Wardlaw made his initial court appearance Monday and faces a charge of burglary in the second-degree.
His bail is set at $40,000, the sheriff’s office says.