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Burglar breaks into “escape room” business, panics, and calls 911

EnlargeNW Escape Experiences

A burglar in Vancouver, Washington made four panicked 911 calls after breaking into an “escape room” business last weekend–and having trouble getting out. Escape rooms are timed challenges that let groups of customers test their wits against a series of intricate puzzles. But NW Escape Experience’s three escape rooms apparently so unnerved accused burglar Rye Wardlaw that he called 911 on himself.

The company offers customers three different rooms to choose from, including the “Kill Room,” described by the Washington Post as “blood-spattered and designed to look like a serial killer’s basement hideout.” The room features a steel autopsy table, a fake dead body, and a “work bench for the murderer’s tools.” “If you don’t know what you’re getting into, stepping into that room is actually pretty scary,” the owner of the business told the Post.

The business also has two less gruesome escape rooms, one with a Las Vegas theme and the other based on the infamous 1971 airplane hijacking by DB Cooper. The Washington Post‘s writeup implies that Wardlaw made his 911 calls from the Kill Room, but the company tells Ars that’s not quite accurate. “He was in the lobby when he called 911” using the company’s phone, the company said in a Facebook message.

Still, the man had access to all three rooms, and seeing the gruesome paraphernalia in the Kill Room might have contributed to his panicked state of mind. Police arrived at the scene and apprehended Wardlaw, who is now facing burglary charges. “We now have a zero percent escape rate with criminals,” owner Tamara Bertrand joked to The Columbian newspaper.

“It was absolutely crazy and we are thankful that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been,” the company told Ars in a Facebook message.

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