Elderly couple outwit would-be robber at their Washington home by using a car alarm

Jim and Betty Lilja think the robber followed them home from the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma.

By Evan Bleier
An alarm button (CC/Andrew Dieselducy)
An alarm button (CC/Andrew Dieselducy)

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MILTON, Wash., May 30 (UPI) -- Who says that senior citizens don't know how to use modern technology?

An elderly Washington couple was able to outwit a would-be robber who broke into their home by scaring him off with their car alarm.


Jim and Betty Lilja of Milton had just returned home from the Emerald Queen Casino with $500 cash when a young man stormed into their house.

"And then he jumped up, pushed me in and had his hand in his pocket and he said, 'Okay, I've got a gun and I'm going to shoot you,'" 85-year-old Jim told KOMO TV. "I said 'I'm 85 years old, if you want to shoot, go ahead and shoot.'"

The Liljas have been married for 66 years.

"He says, 'I want your money and I want it all.' I looked at him and said 'what money?'" said 80-year-old Betty. "Maybe between the two of us we could have taken him down. I don't know. But he ain't going to get my money. I know that."

The suspect apparently believed the Liljas about the money – which was in a purse on the kitchen table the whole time – and went to search the bedroom for valuables.


They quickly got outside and put the car alarm to good use. "I reached into my pocket and I had my car keys. I said, 'I'll just push that car signal and see what happens. Boop, boop, boop," Jim said.

The noise scared the robber and he sped off in a waiting Lexus. "All of a sudden when he heard that alarm he went out of here like a bat out of you know what," Betty said.

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