Cleveland, OH – A special education teacher’s home was invaded by an armed man while she was on a Zoom call with a student and their parents.
Amanda Zupancic was doing a virtual private teaching session at about 11 a.m. on Nov. 23 with a student and his mom in her west Cleveland home when she heard a loud noise downstairs, WEWS reported.
“I heard a glass shattering crash downstairs,” Zupancic said. “I was like, ‘hold on, I think someone is breaking into my house, just joking.’ I didn’t think anyone would be breaking into my house in the middle of the day.”
But when she looked down her staircase she saw a man covered in blood coming for her, WEWS reported.
“There was a man walking through my baby gate with a knife in his hand walking upstairs,” the teacher said. “He started threatening me, yelling at me, calling me names. He grabbed me upstairs into my bedroom.”
The knife-wielding man began searching through Zupancic’s drawers and closets while her horrified student and his parents listened in Lake County through the computer, WEWS reported.
Police released audio recordings of the 911 call made by the student’s father.
“The teacher that teaches my son, somebody broke into her house we saw it on the Zoom,” the frightened-sounding father told the dispatcher in the recording.
He described to the 911 operator as much detail as he could, WEWS reported.
“I guess she heard the man say, ‘Get on the floor. I’m going to cut your f-king throat,’” the father said.
But the special education teacher from Kirtland Local Schools caught a break a moment later when the robber – later identified as Charles Derosett – told her he wanted her car keys, WEWS reported.
Zupancic told Derosett that her keys were downstairs and volunteered to get them.
But when he let her go downstairs, Zupancic let her dogs loose, WEWS reported.
“When I reached for my keys, instead I opened the gate and I have a German shepherd and a Great Dane-boxer mix,” she explained. “So the German Shepherd stood between myself and this guy, and the Great Dane Boxer mix went at him.”
She said the dogs bought her a moment to think and she was able to grab a pair of scissors, WEWS reported.
“I just grabbed a pair of scissors and I chased him to the front door,” Zupancic said.
But the angry teacher didn’t stop there, WEWS reported.
Derosett had fled the house carrying two boxes that contained two watches and Zupancic’s husband’s engagement ring, WOIO reported.
“I started chasing him with this pair of scissors, in my house shoes, down the street, yelling ‘help me, help me, this guy robbed me,’” she said.
Local contractors working nearby heard Zupancic screaming and ran to her aid, WEWS reported.
The police report said that one of the men confronted Derosett and he started “thrashing at him with a knife,” WOIO reported.
Robert Tubbs, 39, forced Derosett to drop the boxes and throw his knife to the ground.
Then he tackled the robber and held him down until the Cleveland police arrived on the scene.
Derosett was arrested and charged with aggravated robbery and felonious assault, in addition to other charges, WEWS reported.
Both watches were recovered at the scene but the wedding ring was lost, WOIO reported.
Court records showed that he is a convicted felon who has previously served time for aggravated robbery.
The teacher said she considered herself very lucky that her student and his parents were paying attention and that the good Samaritan contractors had come to her aid, WEWS reported.
“I’m lucky that there’s enough loving people in the world to figure this all out,” Zupancic said.
She said that between the student and his family, her dogs, and the random men who helped her, there were more good guys in her story than villains, WEWS reported.