WEST HAVEN, Utah (ABC4) — A West Haven couple was locked out of their own apartment, while their toddler was locked inside. The couple contacted 911, locksmiths, their apartment complex, and their security company to no avail.
On Tuesday night around 6:30 p.m., at Bria apartments, the West Haven couple, Kaitlynd Burtchell and her husband were locked out of their apartment, where their child was, for more than three hours.
Burtchell had just gotten home from Target, walked up the stairs, her husband stepped outside the apartment, and the Vivint door automatically locked on them. This isn’t unusual, as their door automatically locks every time; however, this time their passcode didn’t work, and their toddler was locked inside.
The video footage above shows the toddler crying; he was stuck in his highchair the entire time.
Neither Burtchell nor her husband had changed their passcode with Vivint Security. Burtchell had gotten a notification that the passcode was changed, but she said she thought it was a mistake, and said she disregarded it.
Burtchell first called several locksmiths but said she wasn’t having a lot of luck finding one available. She also called their apartment’s office, and the after-hours emergency line, but both went to voicemail.
The couple contacted the Weber County Sheriff’s Office via 911, who allegedly told her they couldn’t help because it “wasn’t an emergency,” even when she explained that their toddler was stuck inside alone. The dispatchers allegedly told them they needed to contact a locksmith.
The couple, per the advice of the dispatch, continued to call locksmiths, and only found one locksmith who said it would be a two-hour wait and cost around $300.
Because she didn’t want to pay $300, and wait two more hours; Burtchell said she tried to call the non-emergency police line. She said every extension she chose sent her to voicemail. She also called the fire dept. and said she kept getting voicemails for each of their extensions as well.
Burtchell finally called 911 again, after “exhausting every option,” and said she demanded they send someone over to break down the door, as their child was inside crying. At this point, it had already been two hours.
When deputies from the Weber County Sherriff’s Office arrived, one deputy called Vivint while the other three deputies were allegedly standing there chatting and laughing.
Burtchell said when she tried to talk to the deputies, they were rude and told her there was nothing they could do. One deputy told her that he would “lose his career” if he broke down their door or allowed them to break down their own door by lending them equipment.
She recorded several of the conversations with the deputies, included in the video at the top of the story. In one of the recordings, you can hear Burtchell and the deputies’ conversation.
Kaitlynd Burtchell said, “Are you guys here to help? […] Can you help me get to my son?”
“We can’t help you do property damage to your property,” the deputy said.
She then said, “Then why are you here?”
To which the deputy responded, “Because we’re allowed to be here, this is a public area.”
After the calls to Vivint returned no information, the deputies allegedly ended up driving away because they had an “actual emergency.” Burtchell said she was shocked by the reaction of the deputies to their situation.
“I was just so angry because you’re the police, or […] the fire department. These people are supposed to be here to help me and supposed to be here to care about children that might be in danger, things like that.” Burtchell said, “I was furious, and I was shocked too because I didn’t expect that reaction. And the things they said to me, and the way they downplayed my emotions. I didn’t expect that to happen.”
The couple, after waiting three-plus hours for dispatch, and others, to help them get into their home, decided to take things into their own hands. Burtchell’s husband climbed their balcony to the second story, retrieved a hammer from the patio closet, and broke their window to get into their home. This was around 9:30, it was also documented and included in ABC4’s video.
Burtchell told ABC4 that when she got a hold of her apartment management’s landlord the next day, she was extremely unsupportive. Her landlord allegedly said that it wasn’t an emergency and that Burtchell is the one who decided to break the window. Allegedly, the landlord also said there was no record that Burtchell called emergency maintenance. Burtchell said she has call logs and proof that she called it.
Reportedly, on the night of the incident, the landlord was in the office until 8:30 p.m. even though the office was closed, but she did not answer Burtchell’s call.
“She was literally there for two hours into my toddler being locked in there by himself. And she had like the full ability to get us into our apartment, like fix our code, unlock the door. We could have gotten in there safely[…] She didn’t answer. No emergency maintenance answered.” Burtchell said, “I would really love for them to be more on top of that, because of situations like this that might happen.”
Burtchell said the reason they were locked out was the apartment complex’s fault. According to Burtchell, the apartment complex accidentally moved them out of the Vivint security system instead of a neighbor who had reportedly moved out.
At the end of Burtchell’s interview with ABC4, she said the following about the Weber County Sheriff’s Office.
“As far as the [deputies] go, I just don’t know what I would want to say to them, except for, ‘I’m just incredibly disappointed,'” Burtchell said. “And it was just really inappropriate.”
ABC4 has been unable to get in touch with Weber County Sheriff’s Office for comment.