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While family slept, burglar rummaged through Northland home before he’s arrested in front yard

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Northland mom and her two kids were fast asleep in their beds, just feet away when a burglar broke into their home.

Erica Cara was quickly awakened by a terrifying phone call from her boyfriend, who had just left their house for the day and informed her that a stranger was inside.

“He is like, ‘There`s someone in the living room taking stuff,’” Cara recalled.

It’s something he watched in real-time, when a motion-censored security camera in their living room sent an alert to his smartphone.

“I’ve been scared of this, I mean, my entire life,” Cara said. “I’ve been afraid of somebody coming in while I was sleeping. So this was just like a nightmare come true.”

Cara said the thought of someone endangering her young children was too much to handle and sent a jolt to her heart.

“It was racing pretty fast,” she said. “I was pretty nervous and pretty anxious, and I was just shaking, not knowing what was going on.”

Within seconds, she confronted the intruder, later identified by police and prosecutors as Bradley Strickland.

“I said, ‘Who are you and what are you doing?’” Cara said.

Cara said Strickland was acting odd as he filled this laundry basket with stuff to steal.

“He`d even mentioned to me that he has been up for three days,” she said, “so as soon as he said that, I knew he was high on something.”

Prosecutors said Strickland's strange behavior continued once Cara forced him out of her house and called police. Instead of running away, he struck around to sweep leaves in the driveway –giving officers time to show up and arrest him.

“I think about, he could’ve had a gun,” Cara said. “He could’ve attacked me. He could’ve done anything to me, but I wanted him out of the house!”

She is now relieved no one got hurt – saying she would’ve done anything to protect her kids.

“You don`t want to put them in any kind of danger,” Cara said, “and so you`re the body-guard between them and the danger around them.”

Strickland is now charged with tampering. He remains in jail Thursday night under a $15,000 bond. He's pleaded "not guilty" to the charges and is due back in court in a few weeks.