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Florida homeowner wakes up after two people kick in his front door

The homeowner believes the incident may be part of a TikTok challenge, which is happening in SWFL, too.
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Posted at 5:00 PM, Jun 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-17 17:00:16-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A Hillsborough County homeowner and his family woke up last week to find their front door vandalized.

David McLaughlin said around 2:30 a.m. last Friday, a group of people ran to his front door. Security footage showed two men kicking his front door and shattering the glass before running away. Another individual appears to have recorded the incident on a cellphone.

"We're not talking about toilet papering your house or hitting your mailbox. We're talking about physically breaking in your door to your house; that's a whole different level," McLaughlin said.

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McLaughlin has numerous security cameras around his property. He said he believes the incident may be part of a TikTok challenge where people kick a door, record it and run away before getting caught.

Governor Ron DeSantis's press secretary, Jeremy Redfern, posted about the challenge on Twitter, saying, "If you’re doing this, now is a good time to stop. Waking up a homeowner in Florida by kicking their door in the middle of the night is a stupid game, and it will eventually lead to a stupid prize."

Similar incidents have been reported in Central Florida, and right here in Southwest Florida. Fort Myers Police Department warned the public of the challenge after a string of incidents along McGregor Blvd.

Out-of-state law enforcement agencies also warned on Facebook about the safety concerns and legal ramifications.

"Never even heard of this before, so I would think someone's trying to come in, and at the end of the day, my family and my kids are in there. I'm going to protect them at all costs," said McLaughlin.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is investigating and working to identify the individuals in the video. McLaughlin said replacing the glass and possibly the entire door will cost thousands.

"I've got prices around $3,200-3,400 or so to replace the glass insert...it can really be up to $10,000 to replace the whole door if need be," he said.

"The best thing to happen to them is they get arrested by the police because they're going to pick the wrong house, and they're going to get killed."