Baltimore police responded Saturday night to a report of breaking and entering in the city’s southwest Beechfield neighborhood expecting the worst. They arrived at the scene prepared to clear the home and confront an intruder.
What officers found was a large, male deer — anxious and hopelessly scattered — that managed to crash through the home’s tiny front window but had not found an escape route.
The Frederick Avenue homeowner of 11 years, who declined to give her name out of concern for her home’s security, said she and her family returned to the residence from an evening out just after 8 p.m. when they noticed damage to the window and bits of blood scattered across their polished floor, streaked down the full-length mirror and speckled on a lamp shade.
“We called police, told them somebody was inside,” the homeowner said. “It was a deer. I would have never thought.”
Three officers arrived after the call came in and moved to clear the house. When they spotted the four-legged creature, it threw off their initial strategy, said Lt. Richard Purtell.
“I’ve seen enough videos on YouTube and heard enough horror stories — none of us wanted to approach that deer and get hoofed, which are sharp, or antlered,” he said. “Eventually, we had seen how poorly the deer handled itself on the flooring and we made a plan.”
The officers decided to leave the front door open and clear a path for the animal to break free, which involved moving the family’s Christmas tree and some furniture out of the way. Animal control staffers stepped to the deer at one angle, Purtell said, while officers came at him from another.
It took a bit of coaxing, but eventually the deer freed himself from the trap of his own making.
“He ran clear out the door, ran right across Frederick and hit the woods,” Purtell said.
The homeowner said she estimates that the deer damaged thousands of dollars worth of property during the accidental break-in, smashing a new $200 lamp, scuffing end tables, shattering picture frames and shattering part of the mirror’s glass. Remnants of Christmas — candy canes, tree bits and dirt — bespeckled the living room floor.
Purtell, who spent more than two decades in the department’s homicide unit, said though this incident resulted in a relatively happy ending, it ranks high on his list of memorable moments.
“He got in by a two-by-two window. It doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “He was in there, and he was fighting himself in the full size mirror.”
For all the havoc wreaked in his path, the deer oddly left one of the home’s most valuable objects unscathed and unharmed: a brand new, authentic Lamar Jackson jersey.