It’s easy to dismiss home security cameras as paranoid, as chances are, everything is just fine. But every once in a while, a security camera captures something terrifying. Some of these home security cameras stories have served their purpose and led to a happy ending – for example, a suspected murderer ended up being a lost horse. Another time, a woman escaped her abusive boyfriend due to Ring footage. But several home security cameras have caught things that are terrifying through and through: attempted breaking and entering and massive fires caught on camera occasionally dominate the news cycle.

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Fortunately, home security cameras are more accessible and cheaper than ever. And if these stories don’t convince you to get your own, maybe some creepy unsolved mysteries will convince you to order a home security camera (or three).

But whatever your decision, just remember to always lock your doors and never open them for someone you don’t know; there could be a teacher under the influence of alcohol trying to break in or an angry father with an assault rifle on the other side.

These stories of the creepiest things people have captured with their home security cameras make clear that having some kind of alert system may mark the difference between life and death.

While not all security camera tales are that dramatic, it is just a little unnerving to think who (or what) could be waiting on the other side of your front door.

1. An Eerie Video Of A Woman In Shackles Had A Horrifying Backstory

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This tale has a bittersweet ending.

In 2018, a video of a woman wearing handcuffs ringing a security camera doorbell went viral. It’s a creepy sight, but in reality she had just escaped from her abusive boyfriend and was looking for help. The video helped identify the woman, and police began to search for her boyfriend.

Before they could officially arrest him, he took his own life.

2. Maybe This Guy Was Planning To Ask To Use The Bathroom

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We totally get that when the urge hits, it hits. But how about a gas station or grocery store next time?

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If you’re on a road trip in the middle of nowhere, yes, sometimes you have to stop and relieve yourself in a shrub. But in a residential area that likely has home security cameras? There’s really no excuse.

Even if the local convenience store bathroom is for paying customers only, buy a pack of gum and make it work.

3. Let’s Hope He Just Loves The Smell Of Her Laundry Detergent

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At least he put it back?

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Chances are, this creep had some weird ulterior motives to smelling this woman’s sweater. It’s nice that he put it back in the car, but would have been nicer if he had never taken it out in the first place.

Maybe it’s best she donate this particular item of clothing to a thrift store, or maybe sell it on Poshmark. No one has to know.

4. Who Knew Doorbells Taste So Good?

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Mmm, nothing like a good doorbell lick before retiring for the night.

In January 2019, a Ring camera caught a man licking the Dungan family’s doorbell in Salinas, California, for three hours. Fortunately, the police quickly identified the perpetrator as Roberto Daniel Arroyo.

Police charged him with prowling and petty theft, and the Dungans thoroughly cleaned their doorbell. What Arroyo found so delicious about the Dungan family’s doorbell is still unclear.

5. These Dogs Came With Their Very Own Security Notifications

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Pets: the perennial security system.

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These good boys knew exactly what to do when two strangers attempted to steal them for dog fighting, an illegal and dangerous blood sport. Fortunately for the owners, these intruders got a much different kind of dog fighting than they anticipated.

How do we all train our dogs to be that prepared for intruders?

6. This Person’s Camera Helped Solve A Deadly Crime

Reddit user InkblotDoggo’s story starts off strange and just gets weirder and weirder:

I installed some security cameras after some altercations with a horrible neighbor.

Most I’d see was a squirrel, maybe a raccoon or two. Saw a fox once. That was cool.

One night, I saw a guy walking up and down the street, passing my house over and over again. He seemed to limp more and more with each pass, before he collapsed.

Later found out that guy was on a massive drug trip, and he died there. On the sidewalk. In front of my house. There was blood on that patch for weeks.

EDIT: Turns out he’d killed his then-girlfriend at the time whilst tripping out. Was kindly asked to mention it in the main post by a comment.

Being instrumental in solving a murder case seems like a good case for investing in a security camera.

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It’s got to be creepy seeing a man wandering back and forth in front of your house, but then to find out he had just ended his girlfriend’s life? We can’t even imagine.

This poster revealed in the comments that her security footage helped police piece together a timeline of the murder’s deeds.

7. A Nosy Neighbor Is Preferable To A Thieving Neighbor

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It has to be awkward when you find out the person stealing your packages is someone you see on the regular.

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We have to wonder what it was like running into their neighbor after this incident? Did they still do a friendly wave? What if one of them needs to borrow milk?

The moral of the story is that you should go a couple neighborhoods over (and make sure they don’t have home security cameras) if you’re going to steal packages–or maybe you should just stick to ordering your own packages, yeah?

8. A Good Samaritan Faced Retribution By A Gun Fanatic In Florida

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A woman’s daughter refused to stay at her father’s home because she was scared of him.

The father retaliated in the scariest way possible.

In September of 2018, a security camera alerted a woman and her daughter to movement on the front porch. They saw the horrifying image of a man standing outside holding an assault rifle. The pair hid in the bathroom while they called police, who took 25 minutes to arrive. The man faces charges of aggravated assault.

9. Bring A Resume If You’re Planning To Use This Excuse

Reddit user Lovelyhairedpianist told a tale of how home security cameras thwarted some pretty dumb criminals:

I used to work for a company in California. Pretty small office just off the side of the road. Lots of gang activity around the area. They’ve got the Ring Doorbell camera so they can safely tell if they can open the door at night.

One night there’s a group of guys hanging around looking at our property. We don’t think much of it because they leave in about 10 minutes. Next day a guy shows up and just walks into our fabrication shop in broad daylight looking around. Never has this happened before. Our boss intervenes immediately:

Boss: “Can I help you?”

Guy: “OH SH*T Uh hey there, a-are you guys hiring..?”

Boss: “No. You have five seconds to [go away.]”

Turns out the gang was planning on robbing our facility while we were on holiday leave and they’d assigned him to scout out the interior.

No one’s buying it, my guy.

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It’s hard enough to come back to work from holiday, but imagine how stressful it’d be if someone also broke into your workplace while you were gone. Then again, if all the supplies from your work were stolen, maybe it would be a nice excuse for an extended (and paid) vacation.

10. This California Teacher Was Under The Influence Of Alcohol

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Sorry officer, I was just throwing my body against the window while waiting for my friend to let me in.

Homeowner Christine Paul, who clearly didn’t know the woman claiming to be her friend, described the attempted visit in as a “very traumatizing incident.” The woman received a charge of vandalism, which Paul argued was nothing but a “slap on the hand” for the amount of trauma she inflicted.

To be fair, the teacher probably has a lot of her own trauma from working with 30+ kids a day, so maybe we cut her a break?

11. Ghosts Have To Occasionally Leave The House Too

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Maybe he needed to visit his ghost friends.

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Seeing a door open at 4 am can be scary—we’ve all seen the horror movies. But hear us out: ghosts have lives too. We can’t fault them for getting out every once in a while. Maybe this Reddit user should invest in some higher security door locks, or a home cleansing kit.

Do any home security cameras specialize in the spectral?

12. A Ring Doorbell Camera Alerted A Homeowner To A Fire On His Front Lawn

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He credits the camera with saving his life.

The motion sensor feature on security cameras are typically lauded for their ability to identify people, but in this case, the motion was a fire that could have destroyed a home and turned deadly.

The owner attempted to extinguish the blaze while his partner called 911. Thankfully, everyone was safe.

13. He Wanted A Little Decoration For Downstairs

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Roses are red, and violets are blue…

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Let’s file this one under weird-but-we-get-it? After all, that whole the flowers-in-the-underwear look has been done by Instagram models for a while. Maybe he’s trying to jumpstart his influencer career on the cheap?

Whatever the reason, the Reddit user never saw the mysterious flower-underwear man again. Let us know if you see him on Instagram.

14. What Could Those Strange Footprints Be?

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Why a horse, of course.

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This is a much better outcome than the alternative robber-murderer scenario. Who doesn’t want to receive a middle-of-the-night equine visitor? We also can’t help but wonder how the Reddit user interpreted half-covered horse hoof prints as human murderer ones, but we’ll let it slide since this story is so oddly adorable.

15. Who Knew That Raccoons Were So Dang Smart And Determined?

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What a clever boy.

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Hear us out: if a raccoon can figure out how to get into a doggy door, find food inside of a home, then leave before anyone wakes up, maybe he kind of deserves those treats. With that kind of resourcefulness, we wouldn’t be surprised if the raccoon manages to get a hold of the dog’s collar.

If only all of our home security cameras captured such silly footage.

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