Burglar got away. Learn from my mistake

I thought I’d post this here for everyone as a reminder to not do what I did…

A few weeks ago it was 11:30 at night and we were just getting ready for bed when this scumbag entered my front yard and stole all of my patio furniture.

On a normal night I would have gotten a notification of my gate opening or that a person was detected on my security cameras (using SightHound Video) however, my phone was on silent. :frowning:

I missed it and he got away. I wish I had a better story of Smartthings saving the day but I don’t.

So just a reminder to everyone using Smartthings for notifications… Make sure your phone is on and you can hear it at the very least. On the iPhone it is incredibly easy to flip one switch on the side and mute all notifications.

I’ve since added a Z-wave siren (though not always practical to set it off every time I have a visitor) and I have a few tablets scattered around the house that are always on full volume and speak notifications from smartthings.

I’ll also be adding some Hue bulbs to flash and change colors on certain events.

I knew of this weak link and had a plan to use Sonos for notifications but was struggling to get it setup and working. I have it working now but I’ve found it to be very unreliable and doesn’t always work consistently so I’ve gone the route of using old tablets and light bulbs instead.

So hopefully someone can learn from my mistake… Redundancy in notifications is the key and having a notification device that can not be so easily muted by the simple flip of a switch as it is for the iPhone.


Who steals patio furniture?! The crazy things these low lifes come up with.

Sorry to hear about this man! But good read :smile:


I was thinking the exact same thing! @mweston Did you get a good pic of him and turn it over to police? I have seen several instances in our area when the police posted pics like this to their Facebook page and made an arrest with a few days based on tips.

Another suggestion for setting up an iPhone…

I always put my phone in Do Not Disturb mode at night, not airplane mode (which my wife does). Although you can’t “favorite” an app for notifications while in DND mode, you could have ST send text messages instead of iOS notifications. If I recall, favorited numbers would allow texts to come through and hear them. (Need to check that, though) Not going to be able to go back in time and stop this moron from stealing your furniture, but it is another option.

Perhaps with HomeKit in the works, Apple may allow you to have alerts break through DND mode?

Sounds like something from a Seth Rogen movie!

I’ve got good footage of him and the vehicle. Not able to make out a license plate. Haven’t seen the police put it on Facebook but I made flyers and posted them all over the neighborhood. I also ran Facebook ads targetted to people in the neighborhood and in his age group to see if someone could identify him but no luck.


Yeah, that is another option. I still would like to have dedicated alert devices, its not unlikely that my phone can die or accidentally bump the silent switch.

Damn! I use Sleepcycle as my alarm and have to check if it blocks notifications at night. I think so. Lately we have had 4 burglaries in our township within a very short span and is all over the news. Jersey here! Hope they catch him!

That’s exactly why I added a Siren a few months ago. I’ve added more and more window and door sensors, which are gret for getting notifications if someone opens them when I’m away, but that doesn’t help that much as the moment. Nor does it help at night when my phone is on silent.

So I added the siren and use the very cool SmartAlarm smart app to set off the siren when I’m away (hopefully scaring off a theif) or at night after bedtime (alerting me even if my phone is silent).

Last year, teenage vandals rearranged my Christmas lights display late at night while I was at home working in my basement. My security cameras didn’t have enough resolution in the darkness to see faces even though they have built in IR illuminators (QSee cameras with only 450TVL). I’d like to upgrade to better security cameras, but in the interim, I’ll be setting up perimeter motion sensors to turn on some floodlighting using SmartThings. That should throw more light into my yard to help the cameras see better. Also, I’m going to have ST send me notifications when the perimeter has been breached.
I hope karma catches up with these kids someday, because what they did was not cool.
@mweston, my blood just boils hearing what happened to you. I hope that thief gets caught someday soon. By the way, do you have a fence around your yard?

agreed. My house got broken into before i got STs. Infact it was prompted me to Kickstart STs.

@PatA Thanks. I’m sure it will come back to him… I do have a fence and a gate to get in. It’s relatively low though so you can see over it (HOA’s choice not mine).

During the holiday season starting, there has been several cases in my township and wish I had the dough to invest in some cameras and sirens! Have ADT but just for some additional peace of mind. Being a first time ever home owner of a late sixties house, I have a huge huge wish list and home improvements I have to get done before the serious winter kicks in North east and already talks of snow! :frowning:

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Congrats dude! :smile:

I use “block mode” on my Samsung devices, but I think this might be a vendor-specific feature. It lets me disable all notifications except from my favorites, so I don’t hear a whole bunch of pings and boops through the night.

I think you can also do selective processing with Tasker and/or IFTTT, where you can process a particular incoming message and do something with it. IFTTT has an incoming SMS handler where you can search for a keyword, then say activate a light / siren in ST

I hope that this post is appropriate to both this section (Stories) and the specific story (“Burglar got away”). I am new to the forum and in the process of fitting out a townhouse. I plan to install Smartthings home automation with the main objective to “catch the burglar”. By that, I am thinking that I need to install door sensors, a motion detector, camera, and some kind of siren. I have been reviewing the forum posts to synthesize the best approach here. Most elements seem pretty straightforward with the exception of the camera. Seems some cameras are supported, some maybe, some not. And, a number of new cameras (Ion, Homeboy) appear on the horizon. I am also not clear on how to store and view video, either real-time or stored. I’d like to avoid a NAS or cloud fees. I would want to turn the camera on based on the sensor and record/view for some short period. I am reasonably technical but would really prefer a setup that was easy to install and just worked without special coding.

Suggestions based on your experience? Thx.

Sorry to hear this happened to you. I’ve been wanting to figure out a way to add customized audible feedback to my system. For example, if someone trips the back yard motion sensor, the lights come on and the outdoor speakers say, "Intruder detected… Tracking… Weapons locked. You have 30 seconds to reach minimum safe distance… 20 seconds remaining… Weapons armed (audible click) You now have 10 seconds to reach minimum safe distance… (poll for a motion event) If false: “Weapons disarmed. Resuming sentry mode” If true: “Weapons executing” volume=10 and play SFX of gunfire. That would scare the living $h*t out of any intruder I would think. But alas, it’s just a pipe dream at the moment.


I’m wondering if you can IFTTT.com, ST and a Recorded file with a Z-Wave Sonos system to achieve this.
I’m pretty sure you can write an app for it, the only issue being the sensor would need to be active poll mode (most sensors take a few minutes to report no motion)

Right, I’d need something more sensitive/active than a motion detector. Also, I’ve noticed some limitations with IFTTT because as far as I know you can’t string events (IFTTT and Then This or That).

You can use pollster to refresh the device state.

As far as IFTTT the drawback is that you can’t string actions, plus the ability to play a custom message to a sonos player is actually not one of the actions you can perform with IFTTT and ST.