Paul Mohlman was relaxing at home, watching TV, and enjoying the comfort of solitude. The Tennessee resident was the only one around. He felt calm, serene. Then he heard it: a strange sound coming from the other room.

Maybe something fell, was Paul’s first thought. Maybe a breeze blew through an open window. Quickly, however, he realized the source of the sound was much more complicated than what he’d anticipated.

Paul Mohlman didn’t always live in the South — he was born in New Jersey. However, after graduating from Rutgers University with a degree in engineering, he packed up and made the big move. He had no idea what awaited him there.

Facebook – Paul Erik Mohlman

On a bright winter morning in the last week of November 2019, Paul was resting when he heard a thud coming from his roommate’s bedroom. “It sounded like something fell. Something heavy,” he said. But his roommate wasn’t home.


Paul was rightly unsettled by this sound, so he got up to investigate. He opened the door to his roommate’s bedroom and cautiously entered, having no idea about the strange sight that awaited him.

YouTube – VideoJoeKnows

Inside the room, he noticed an out-of-place arrangement: there was a pipe that he didn’t recognize laying on the floor. Even more concerning, right beside it was a hole that had been punched straight through to a crawlspace beneath the house.

Now Paul was getting really concerned. His heart racing, he peered through the hole and looked into the crawlspace. He was met with the shock of his life.


Staring back at him from the hole was a single eye! His worst fears had been realized: there was a person down there. “It was a Caucasian dude. He wasn’t wearing a shirt; had no shoes on,” Paul remarked. He started interrogating him.

jaxown / reddit

“What are you doing down there?” he remembers asking him. “Did the landlord call you? Are you here to work on plumbing?” Then the man replied something incoherent and shifted around. He looked like he was trying to hide. Clearly, he was not the plumber.

Frustrated with the lack of response, Paul realized the situation was rapidly escalating. He had to take more serious steps to protect himself and his home. Grabbing his .22 caliber firearm, he informed the man that he was in possession of a gun.


“I let him know that I have a gun,” Paul reflected. “And I said ‘I don’t want to shoot you, but what are you doing?’” He called the police, and they arrived quickly. However, even the authorities had a hard time luring the man out of his hiding place.

Finally, the cops successfully brought the suspect out of the crawlspace. But Paul was surprised: This suspect wasn’t a shirtless white man; he was black and was wearing a shirt, but no pants or shoes.


“At the moment, I sort of forgot about that part and was like, ‘Oh they got the guy. I saw it wrong. They got the guy,’” Paul reported. Soon, he’d be in for an even bigger shock when the man uttered some words that were comprehensible.


The suspect said he’d spilled acid on himself. At first, police were unsure if this was true. But then, outside the house, investigators spotted a pile of random clothes and also a bottle of hydrochloric acid.


Finally, believing the frightening situation had come to a close, Paul went to get a badly needed drink at a nearby bar. He began chatting with the bartender, telling him about the terrifying ordeal. Then, the bartender revealed an anxiety-inducing piece of information.

Flickr – Kat

Paul showed the bartender a photo he’d taken of the man being detained, to which the bartender replied — to Paul’s shock — that he actually recognized the man. He’d seen him hanging around the bar only a night before…but he hadn’t been alone.

US Air Force

To confirm this guy was the same person who’d been sneaking around Paul’s house, the bartender pulled up surveillance footage from that night. The clip showed two people messing around outside the venue: the detained suspect and the white guy he’d seen initially.

All of Paul’s fears from earlier in the traumatic day came rushing back. He hadn’t been wrong before; he should have trusted his instincts. All the alarm bells were raised, and he now had reason to believe that his house hadn’t been cleared of unwanted intruders.


The homeowner phoned the police for the second time that day. Authorities reviewed the surveillance footage for themselves, then returned to Paul’s house to execute a second search. They found the crawlspace, below, to be empty. But this wasn’t the end of the fiasco.


Paul went to sleep, still feeling slightly uneasy but still having faith that the officials had done their jobs. Hours later, he woke up feeling unusually cold and went to check out the wires controlling the house’s heat.

To his shock and dismay, he found that the men had cut the wires. He called for emergency repairs in the middle of the night but chose not to file a police report. He didn’t think the men belonged in jail, but rather, needed psychiatric help.

Police confirmed that the black suspect had been sent to UT Medical Center as a result of his “erratic and unstable” behavior, while the search continued for the white suspect. Still a little unnerved, Paul felt good about the situation.

UT Medical Center

The situation could have escalated to deadly violence had Paul not been careful. Horror stories from those who’d acted rashly when they believed there was an intruder in their home left him him feeling grateful he reacted the way he did. A woman nearby wasn’t so lucky.

For Renee Jones, an ordinary Friday night turned terrifying when she heard an intruder creeping through her home. Living alone in Girard, Ohio, wasn’t exactly the most comforting of situations, as the city is notorious for its high frequency of property-based crimes.

Renee Jones / Facebook

As such, Renee went to great lengths to make sure she was safe and sound in her home each night. She double-checked the locks on the doors and windows before heading up to bed, and motion-sensing lights deterred any would-be burglars from creeping too close.

Just in case, however, Renee also kept one additional line of defense: a .38 special. Under concealed-carry law, Renee had purchased the powerful revolver and always made sure to keep it at her bedside.

So with her home secured and weapon within arm’s reach, Renee felt safe as she curled up beneath the covers on Friday, August 30. Unfortunately, this feeling wouldn’t last.

Carl Botterill / Flickr

At around 9 pm that evening, Renee was lying in bed when she thought she heard someone walking around outside. Being that the motion lights hadn’t tripped, she assumed the noise was probably just the wind.

Just moments later, however, she heard the sound again — and this time it came from the front door. Ears perked, Renee listened as the lock clicked and the door slowly creaked open.

At first Renee was in disbelief, clinging to the hope that this was all a product of her imagination. But as the front door shut and footsteps echoed from below, her worst fear had been realized: there was someone in the house.

Frozen, Renee listened as the intruder crept their way through the home’s lower level. “Maybe they won’t come upstairs,” she thought to herself — until she heard the squeak of a foot on the steps.

The intruder quickened their pace up the stairs, sending Renee into a panic. With her phone nowhere in sight, she scrambled through her nightstand and pulled out the revolver.

The footsteps reached her bedroom. Renee whirled on her feet, the gun cocked and raised. BANG! The bullet ripped through the intruder’s right arm and sent them tumbling to the floor.

Ears ringing, Renee dropped the smoking revolver and watched as the attacker writhed in pain. She’d stop the intruder dead in their tracks, though there was just one problem: they weren’t an intruder at all.

Heather / Flickr

Instead of an unknown assailant, Renee’s 18-year-old daughter Hanna stared up at her in a state of sheer disbelief. Horrified, Renee rushed into the bathroom and grabbed a handful of towels to stop the bleeding.

Hanna Jones / Facebook

As Renee tended to her daughter, Hanna’s boyfriend burst through the front door. He’d heard the gunshot from his car out front, and after seeing the mess upstairs, he immediately called the police.


When law enforcement arrived they found Hanna “covered in blood” and clutching a towel wrapped around her arm. An ambulance arrived moments later and together Renee and Hanna rode to the hospital, both shaken beyond words.

Hanna was rushed into surgery, where it was determined that the bullet had fractured her elbow in three places. Using metal plates and screws, doctors repaired her injured arm before allowing her to rest up from the traumatic experience.

Once the initial commotion passed, Hanna chose to clear the air with her mother about the night of the shooting. Evidently, Hanna had come home from college early and tried to surprise Renee with an unannounced visit.

New York Post

But while an innocent misunderstanding like this would normally be no cause for concern, the fact that Hanna was shot potentially made this a criminal offense. As a result, the Girard Police Department launched an investigation into the matter.

City of Girard

Fortunately for Renee, she was found to be within her rights when it came to firing her weapon. According to the Castle Doctrine, Renee’s actions were justified in the context of defending her home.

S2 Strategic Defense

But the Girard Police Department maintains that this incident could’ve been avoided if proper precautions were taken. According to GPD Chief John Norman, there’s one very simple way to prevent these kind of firearm accidents.

“If you realize someone has a gun for protection, and they’re not expecting you — announce yourself when you enter the home, or even if you’re getting up to get a drink of water in the middle of the night, just announce yourself,” he told WFMJ.

The Rise & Shine

But while Renee’s run-in with an “intruder” turned out to be a false alarm, it’s safe to say that anyone can be the target of such an attack. Therefore, it helps to know what to look for in case your own home is in danger.

That’s exactly why an urgent Facebook post by one Texas woman named Kim Fleming Cernigliaro rapidly went viral. She came dangerously close to being the victim of what could have been a disastrous burglary…

Kim Fleming Cernigliaro / Facebook

Kim was understandably shaken by her experience, and she wanted to make sure her friends and neighbors knew about it. “Two weeks ago, during the day, a hard knock was at my front door,” she began…

Kim Fleming Cernigliaro / Facebook

“And I DO NOT answer the door when I am here by myself,” Kim emphasized. She waited for the knocking to stop before investigating who it might have been. That was when she noticed something strange on her door handle…

It was an ordinary rubber band—the same kind that you could easily purchase at any office supply store—and it was wrapped around the door latch. It might not have sounded threatening, but Kim knew it was suspicious…

Kim contacted the local sheriff, who told her this wasn’t the first time someone had reported something like this—and that this particular use of a rubber band was far from harmless. “As soon as you unlatch the door, they do not wait for you to turn the knob… they can bust in on you,” Kim revealed.

Even if you weren’t previously aware of this trend, or if you thought you lived in a “safe” neighborhood, it would be wise to heed Kim’s advice and not answer doors without being sure of who is on the other side. But that isn’t all you can do!

r. nial bradshaw / Flickr

There are several small steps you can take to avoid attracting burglars to your home. The first to remove any litter outside your home. Obviously, this is important anyway since trash is unsightly, but there’s an even bigger reason!

Properties full of garbage can give strangers the impression that you’re not home often, or that you’ve been away for a while, making it easier for criminals to get away with robbing you virtually undetected.

Patsy Lynch / Wikimedia Commons

Some experienced burglars even know how to use litter to send secret signals to other criminals about how many people live in the house—and when they’re away. Don’t give them the opportunity to do so!

Here’s another crucial tip that can actually save you some time, especially on those busy mornings when you don’t have even an extra second to spare: don’t make your bed before you leave your home.

It may sound sloppy, and in conflict with what you’ve taught to keep your house tidy, but many burglars first look at the beds before targeting a house. An unmade bed could give the impression that someone is still there.

Another good (albeit obvious) precaution to take is to invest in a professional home security system. These may be costly, but they’re usually ideal for protecting homes, and the cost of being robbed is often far greater!

Vivint Smart Home / YouTube

If you can’t afford one of these systems, however, you might be able to just put a sign or sticker on your property indicating that your home is protected (even if you know that it technically isn’t). The sign alone could still deter criminals!

Granted, experienced burglars may still take the risk to call you on your bluff, but this kind of simple trickery should be enough to scare most wrongdoers away from trying any funny business in your home.

Intel Free Press / Flickr

You should also consider investing in some motion-sensitive lights. Remember, criminals can still get nervous! If a light suddenly shines on them, they will get the impression that they’ve been caught and flee the scene.

Glogger / Wikimedia Commons

It may seem obvious to hide your valuables in your sock drawer or a lockbox, but that’s exactly why you should consider moving them someplace even sneakier. At this point, most criminals know to look in places like that…

With that in mind, who would think to look for your most valuable jewelry in your child’s bedroom? Sure, you should still keep it somewhere safe within that room so your children can’t get to it, but burglars themselves are unlikely to seek it out there!


Finally, it’s important to remember that people don’t just kick down doors in action movies; burglars do it in real life all the time. Be sure to reinforce your door, either with more wood or by investing in a steel door.

Home Repair Tutor / YouTube

This particular method of burglary involving a rubber band is not considered common—at least not yet. Still, it’s always a good idea to take precautions, and finding a good hiding spot for valuables is definitely a critical precaution.

The secret safe behind a painting is a total cliché at this point, but how about the safe behind the power outlet? It’s the perfect size for stashing money or jewelry. No burglar will ever find this spot unless for some reason he stops to charge his phone.

MSN / Elizabeth Flaherty

With a little bit of stuffed animal surgery, a teddy bear can become the perfect storage spot. As a fair warning, you probably don’t want to use a bear with any sentimental value. That’s because this trick requires cutting off its head, scooping out the stuffing, and inserting a jar inside.


For the ultimate hiding spot, you can hollow out an area underneath a staircase. This secret passage lets you hide massive amounts of valuables, and you can even hide in it yourself as long as the space is big enough. If hanging out under the stairs is good enough for Harry Potter, then it’s good enough for you!

How would you like to secretly store tiny items right at your desk? That’s a cinch as long as you’ve got a stack of sticky notes. Just carve a hole in the middle of the stack, but leave the top and bottom sheets intact. Your nosy coworker will never steal your candy again!


Just about any drawer can serve as the perfect clandestine storage spot. Insert a panel of wood — ideally with a disguised handle attached — into the drawer as a false bottom. From there, just stow any relatively flat valuables underneath. No one will be any more the wiser!


You might hate your cheap TV, but it actually can help protect you from robbers! By mounting it in front of a hollow space in the wall, you have a large depository right behind your big screen that’s perfect for your REAL valuables.

Imgur / TheWalkingAlive

Any jar can become a low-maintenance cache for valuables. How, you might ask? All you need to do is drop a toilet paper roll inside, insert any small possessions into the tube, and fill up the rest of the jar with dry food, like pasta or rice. You can keep this right in your kitchen for easy access, or even take it with you!

YouTube / Cleverly

Who empties out their vacuum cleaner on a regular basis, let alone someone else’s? Nobody is interested in getting literal dirt on you, which makes the inside of your vacuum very handy for storing sensitive items. It’s especially useful for tucking away important documents.

It’s always a good idea to carry some emergency cash on you, somewhere separate from your wallet. Fortunately, there’s no place better to hold a few rolled-up bills than inside a hollow lip balm tube! It’ll stop your bank account from running dry, though your lips just might.


When it comes to protecting your treasures, you should always take the high ground. So forget stashing prized possessions in the wall or floor — you can put light items on top of ceiling tiles! Just remember which tile you chose, or else you’ll be taking on quite the scavenger hunt.

MSN / Elizabeth Flaherty

That lip balm hack works great, but sometimes you need a bit more space. A sunscreen bottle will do just the trick, and you can still easily lug it around in your bag. This lotion is SPF 100 percent secure.


Unless you have a really hungry cat burglar, chances are no intruders will check inside the fridge. A mayonnaise jar, or any other (mostly) empty container, makes for an ideal, out-of-the-way safe for a rainy day fund.

Family Handyman

Chances are that your house is full of various nooks and crannies, so you might as well put them to good use. You can fit a manila envelope in the crack between your kitchen cabinets (just attach a couple binder clips so you can spot it).

MSN / Elizabeth Flaherty

Don’t just tuck your spare key under the doormat. That’s the first place everyone will look. But you can still hide a key right by your front door by putting it in a jar, burying it in the dirt, and placing a distinctive rock over the spot.

A globe is a classy piece of decor for any room and a useful one as well. Take advantage of its hollowness and tuck a wad of money or other small valuables at the bottom, maybe somewhere around Antarctica. This trick will open up a whole new world!

Imgur / TheWalkingAlive

Even if you’re not a cat person, you should pay attention to this trick. Nobody will go digging through a container of kitty litter, which makes it a great spot to stash a box of important items. For maximum effect, pour a layer of litter over the box so that it is completely submerged.

MSN / Elizabeth Flaherty

Good news: we finally have a use for the biggest, driest reference books that you never open. When glued together, their covers form an undercover storage spot that fits right in with your personal library. You can find this idea in your dictionary under G for “genius.”


One man’s trash holds another man’s treasure. Rather than toss out an empty paint can keep it on your shelf to hold a spare set of keys or some money. If you have a large paint selection, just be careful that you don’t misplace the special can!

MSN / Elizabeth Flaherty

No robber in their right mind would open up a pipe! So if you were to embed a length of PVC pipe into your wall, wouldn’t it be the perfect disguise for a safe? To make it even harder to crack, you can place the pipe out of easy reach.

MSN / Elizabeth Flaherty

We’ve covered a ton of genius hiding spots, but how will you keep track of them all? The easiest way is to write up a guide to remind you of all your treasures’ whereabouts. Hide it inside of your favorite book, and you will never lose anything again!

MSN / Elizabeth Flaherty