back to article Woman calls cops on shadowy baddie barricaded in bathroom... to discover: Roomba gone rogue

Busting down a stricken woman's bathroom door, guns at the ready, Oregon's finest expected to encounter a dangerous intruder. Instead they found a bungling Roomba Robot Vacuum giving the loo a once-over. Washington County Sheriff's Office posted the droll tale to their Facebook page last night to clarion calls of "body cam …

  1. NorthernCoder

    That sucked..!

    I'll get my coat...

  2. disgruntled yank


    Did the robot make a clean escape?

    1. Francis Boyle


      but it did have a close brush with the law.

      (I know, low hanging fruit.)

      1. Swarthy

        Re: no

        If the Roomba can get your fruits, they must be low-hanging indeed.

  3. Persona

    When I get home my first task is normally to find where our Roomba has ended up. It can but rarely goes into a room and shuts the door behind it. Mostly it gets stuck on the back door mat. It can get onto it fine but can't get down again. It looks like the height sensors see it as too much of a drop so it wanders around the mat getting close the edge then going back. The plus side is the door mat gets very well vacuumed.

    1. alferdpacker

      How does it lock the door behind it? The article seems reticent on this important point!

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        How does it lock the door behind it?


      2. Nick Kew

        Doesn't have to lock anything. If it just shuts the door from inside, it can't get out again until someone opens the door for it. The door may have locked itself, or more likely the hysterical woman was mistaken: c.f. the Gatwick drone.

        I make sure to wedge doors open when the roomba is running!

  4. Lee D Silver badge

    I have one.

    I named him Bob.

    Now, admittedly, he's not a fancy Roomba but he's a robot vacuum and he gets the job done.

    But, I'll tell you one thing. He's as noisy as all hell. Not because he's cheap, but just because being a vacuum, having spinning brushes and navigating around the floors is far from a quiet thing to do. Also, he worked by bumping into things (gently) and then trolling off in a new direction. If I left him in the bathroom in the middle of the night, the only impression you would be under would be that you've got very noisy clumsy burglars who have decided to hoover up after themselves. You'd be hard-pushed to ignore it.

    So unless it's a top-of-the-line Roomba and they are drastically quieter than every other robot vacuum I've ever seen, I say either the woman is deaf, or stupid, or both.

    Bob's good though. He saves times even if he's far from perfect. He lives on a kitchen stool which is his little charging station. Plant him on the carpet before you leave work, press the button, and he just skitters around randomly for an hour or so while you're out. Do the same when you come back home, in another room, and after a couple of days the whole house is hoovered and you need only do "deep into the corner" bits if someone's coming round. Carpet, tile, vinyl, laminate, he just gets it done. I tend to shut him in a room if one room is particularly bad, so he gets everything in that room rather than wanders off on safari, but otherwise he's good.

    He avoids the stairs. He doesn't break anything. I just make sure there are no cables on the floor (because he can make a mess of those) or put something over the top of them. He's got jammed once under the radiator but just stopped himself and beeped for help. I stuck goggley eyes on him to give him a bit of personality. He does keep trying to eat the penguin-shaped bathroom mat, though. He's definitely got something for that penguin.

    But so much easier than hoovering myself. Clear the decks, point Bob at the floor, go out to work/the shops/whatever, spend five minutes looking for him when you get back (little sod likes to hide).

    1. Captain Hogwash


      Robot > Robert > Bob ?

      Mine's called Ajax because his heroic cleaning ability is the stuff of legend. He's not the IoT type so no danger of Trojans.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Dr Dan Holdsworth

      I use one of the Chinese variants of this sort of robot. It runs from a timer, set to activate in the early hours of the morning before I leave for work, since this robot has a secret fetish that its user manual completely fails to tell of.

      This robot likes string, or shoelaces, or anything long and stringy that it can attempt to ingest, choke on and then stop somewhere inconvenient and make loud protestations about how something is wrong in a feminine mid-atlantic sort of voice.

      Since I live alone and don't want my neighbours phoning the police to break down the door and apprehend an especially noisy burglar, I therefore set this cybernetic fiend to work at a time when it can mooch around happily and if it manages to find trouble, can be untangled and sent on its merry way again without being stranded all day long.

      Over time, I have learnt the little sod's foibles and these days it rarely manages to ingest anything bootlace-like, but instead merely trundles around vacuuming then returns to its charge point to lurk ominously.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        I have learnt the little sod's foibles

        It's got you well-trained, then.

    3. bill 27

      I named mine Rachael, and not unlike the movie one...she's pretty oblivious as to her origin.

    4. Nick Kew

      @Lee D - this woman's bathroom door might be more soundproof than yours. And maybe there's background noise to drown it out.

      I commonly sit upstairs while the roomba does downstairs, and vice versa. That distance is sufficient that I hardly hear it most of the time. And mine is also good at returning to base, so we don't play hide-and-seek.

      1. 's water music

        maybe there's background noise to drown it out

        Roomba turned on the taps whilst rubbing one out?

    5. jake Silver badge

      Mine ...

      ... were called FRED, short for Fucking Ridiculous Electronic Device. We got four of them for Xmas one year (SWIMBO's relatives are in cahoots, it would seem), so we turned one loose on each floor to see what would happen. The cats ignored them, but the dawgs took an instant dislike to them. They all met their demise in under three days.

      The first to go was FRED four (the one supposedly patrolling my attic office space). It was found beeping most piteously in a mud puddle under a rhododendron at the far end of the dawg's run. It never rolled again. FRED three disappeared. We never did find it. FRED two kept mysteriously falling down the uncarpeted back-stairs, until the magic smoke came out. FRED one somehow wound up in the laundry sink while a load of wash was running. None of us actually observed roboticide as it was occurring, so we don't know who the perp(s) is/are ... but my money is on the very elderly Standard Poodle, who had a rather guilty, yet satisfied look about him for a week or so afterwards.

      Needless to say, we didn't repeat the experiment.

    6. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: I named him Bob.

      Be careful that "Bob" doesn't bump into a Table and knock it over.

  5. streeeeetch

    Roomba Robber Really Riles Roused Rifle Replete Rozzas

    So much opportunity...

  6. Ima Ballsy

    I'm ...

    just glad the shit didn't hit the fan !

  7. Davidcrockett

    We've got a Neato called Murphy. The imaginary conversation goes something like this:

    "Officer Murphy, you were killed in the line of duty but we brought you back as a cyborg"

    "Am I an unstoppable robot crime fighter?!?"

    “Errr, not quite... "

  8. Cubical Drone

    I welcome our autonomous cleansing overlords!

  9. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    Failure of protocol...

    "With guns drawn, deputies open the door to encounter the suspect."

    So they didn't shoot first and then open the door? Seems a rather obvious failure of US Police protocol to me.

    1. TRT Silver badge
    2. Cynic_999

      Re: Failure of protocol...


      Seems a rather obvious failure of US Police protocol to me.


      Perhaps it was a white Roomba?

      1. Whiznot

        Re: Failure of protocol...

        Your comment was uncalled for. Our cops are equal opportunity murderers.

  10. David 18
    Black Helicopters

    All your bathrooms are belong to us!

    I would also love to know how it locked the door. There's a conspiracy there the PtB are covering up!

    1. waldo kitty

      Re: All your bathrooms are belong to us!

      "I would also love to know how it locked the door."

      our interior doors have push button locks... actually, the whole knob pushes in... it is very easy to accidentally lock a door by pushing it all the way open with nothing behind it to prevent it from hitting the wall and pushing the knob in...

      unlocking these is pretty easy from outside the locked room... there's a hole in the other knob and you simply poke an ice pick or clothes hanger through the hole to push the other knob out of the lock position...

      this is the same type hole that you have to put a flat piece into, find the lock slot, and turn to unlock on doors with twisting lock buttons... it is just easier to unlock these push-to-lock knobs since you only have to push straight in instead of locating the slot and turning...

      when toddlers were running around opening and closing all the doors, it was easy for them to get locked into a room...

      1. David 18

        Re: All your bathrooms are belong to us!

        Just how tall are these robot cleaners? And. more to the point, do they have frikkin' lasers!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This made me worried for a moment

    I live in Washington County (it’s an area around Hillsboro, west of Portland) and am currently traveling on business for a few days. Leaving my wife, roomba and dog back at the ol’ homestead.

    On reading this article, I almost texted my wife to ask if she’d been most uncharacteristically stupid...

  12. gcla72

    What would Oscar Pistorius have done?

    Too soon? I'll get my coat...

  13. Jeffrey Nonken

    ROTM. She was right to call emergency services. If she'd gone in alone, she'd never have come out. But when the cops showed, the Roomba presented as a perfectly innocent vacuum cleaner.

    Next time. We can be patient.

  14. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    Waiting for Dbbsy to acquire a Roomba (or equivalent) then talk about his experience in Something for the Weekend, Sir?

    WIll be a really good one.

  15. Conundrum1885


    Did they read it its rights?

  16. OssianScotland

    Obligatory XKCD

    1. Ken Shabby

      Re: Obligatory XKCD

      Or even

  17. RedCardinal

    Was the robot then shot 15 times because it didn't immediately respond to orders to "put its hands up!"?

    What colour was this particular model?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon