(KMOV) -- Burglars stole a gun and ammunition from a South St. Louis home -- all while the security alarm blared. It took police half an hour to respond to that call. News 4's Maggie Crane found out why, and if you have a home security alarm, you'll want to do some checking on your own system.
"This is how our bedroom was left," Briana Mager says. "They went through our clothes, drawers."
Burglars busted a side-alley window at Briana Mager's home, which triggered the alarm. They made off with a large, flat-screen t.v., the gun safe hidden in the closet and her sense of safety.
"My biggest concern is the safety of the general public because there's a hand gun on the loose, out in St. Louis, with the ammunition," Mager says.
Briana says police would have had a better chance of catching the bad guys if they'd shown up sooner. It took them half an hour -- all because of an invalid permit. You see, the city created an ordinance in 2005, requiring homeowners to register their alarms if they want police or fire to immediately respond. Otherwise, it's up to homeowners to call police and prove that it's not a false alarm.
According to police, at 4:11 p.m. Sunday, the alarm company called them about the sounding alarm, but the permit number was invalid, so police waited. Ten minutes later Mager called but hung up before the dispatcher could get the location. Ten more minutes and friends who saw Mager's Facebook post called in on her behalf. Police then arrived at 4:40 p.m. -- 29 minutes later.
"Where's our safety if our alarm company isn't going to call police for us when we have an alarm going off?" Mager questions.
The alarm company wouldn't talk to us on camera, but by phone told me that there was a miscommunication. The Magers paid $75 when their alarm was installed. They thought that included the price of the permit, but Midwest Alarms Plus, Inc. didn't apply for it. The company says the Magers owe them $50 more dollars for that.
"It was news to us," Mager says. "It was the first time we heard it. We believed we had paid it when we set up the alarm seven months ago. Nothing has come on any statements, bills or invoices to say that we owed them any money for any reason."
Still, Briana says, her mistake is a warning to others.
"Don't wait until you're being robbed to find out that your alarm company doesn't hold a valid permit number," Mager says.
St. louis police also sent us the following statement:
"We always respond to 911 calls from citizens in need. We continue to ask 911 callers to remain on the line until the dispatcher ends the call. This ensures the dispatcher has all the information necessary in order to provide an accurate police response. Callers should be aware they can request to speak with a supervisor if there is a problem with the call. Citizens should also work with their alarm companies to ensure alarms have a valid permit number."