Alan Cheuse was upstairs working on his computer around 9:30 Wednesday morning when his power went out and he heard what sounded like an explosion at his northwest D.C. home.
Downstairs there were signs of a break-in: A kicked-in side door. But Cheuse was too worried about what happened to his electric meter.
"It must've been a really big explosion because I found the meter on the floor of the screened porch," he says.
It wasn't until an hour or so later, when police got to his house at the corner of 35th and Quebec streets, that he figured out what really happened.
Police say someone tried to cut off power or alarm. The meter was found on the ground. The suspect took off.
The burglar who tried to get in the house didn't bet on the homeowner actually being home. The house has an alarm, but the burglar didn't need to worry about it because it wasn't even turned on.
"I guess we'll turn on the alarm during the day," Cheuse says. "It's a sad thing, but that's what we'll do."