Special education teacher robbed during Zoom call with student and parent
"He was coming up knife in his hand, threatening to kill me."
An Ohio teacher is speaking out after having a terrifying run-in with a man who broke into her home as she taught a remote lesson over Zoom.
Cleveland resident Amanda Zupancic told "Good Morning America" that she was talking with a student and his mother on Nov. 23 in her upstairs office when she heard glass shatter.
"I was at the top of the stairs. He was struggling with my baby gate," Zupancic said of the assailant. "He was coming up, knife in his hand, threatening to kill me. I actually said, 'Is this happening right now?' It seemed unrealistic. I was scared."
Zupancic, a special education teacher at Kirtland Local Schools, was home alone with the doors locked when the break-in occurred. Her husband and 1-year-old child had left 20 minutes earlier and Zupancic suspects the man saw her family leave the house before breaking into her porch window, she said.
Zupancic said the man brought her into her bedroom where he forced her to lay on he ground while he went through her belongings, taking watches and wedding rings.
"He was telling me, 'Don't move. Give me your wallet and keys,'" Zupancic recalled, adding that her student and the parent were still logged into Zoom in the neighboring room.
Zupancic said she brought the man downstairs and instead of leading him to her wallet and keys, she unlocked another baby gate to release her German shepherd and a Great Dane-boxer mix.
When one of the dogs went after the robber, Zupancic grabbed a pair of scissors, chased him out of the house and down the street. She said she screamed to several neighbors who called the police.
Zupancic said a local contractor working on a house in her neighborhood witnessed the incident and unsuccessfully attempted to detain the robber.
Transit police, who happened to be in the area, apprehended the suspect, Charles Derosett, until Cleveland Police arrived and arrested him, officials said.
Derosett has been charged with aggravated robbery, assault and other charges, according to Cleveland Police. It's unclear if Derosett has a lawyer.
Although she was "shaken" by the incident, Zupancic is grateful she and her loved ones are safe. She said her student's parent also called the police after hearing the encounter.
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