WAYNE, N.J. — An 11-year-old boy made a disturbing discovery in the closet of his Wayne, N.J. home Monday afternoon.
Allan Shneydernan had just gotten home from school when he found a burglar hiding in the closet.
The family’s surveillance system shows Shneydernan walking into the home and freeze. He knew something was wrong.
"I thought my grandma was there," Shneydernan said. "So I called out, no one responded."
Shneydernan said when he looked around the corner, he saw the 6-foot-tall stranger peering back at him from behind a closet door.
"My heart immediately started pounding and I didn't know what to do besides just run out," said Shneydernan.
The boy wasn't hurt, but he was frightened.
"The way he looked and the way he shuffled just really scared me," said Shneydernan.
The suspect had allegedly entered the home moments before through the back door.
A neighbor told PIX11 she saw the boy in the street and he looked upset.
"And so I said Allan what's the matter? And he said 'well I was just in my house and there was a stranger in there, I saw him and he saw me and he ran out,'" said Gail DeGraaf.
Capt. Laurence Martin of the Wayne Police Department praised Shneydernan's actions.
“The young man reacted perfectly. He was aware something in house was not right… he didn’t try to make contact with the person, he didn’t try to confront him. He went right out and sought help from a neighbor,” said Martin.
Police later arrested the man Shneydernan allegedly witnessed in his home.
Police say Thomas Coughlin, 23, is from the neighboring town of Pompton Lakes. He was arrested at his home Tuesday morning.
"I wish he would just be a normal person and not decide to steal things," Shneydernan said.
Coughlin is being held on $50,000 bail and police say he was remorseful. But they are calling this a great lesson for kids on what to do in this type of a scary situation.