Sandra Bullock was awakened in her bed by banging coming from her third-floor workout room.
The banging appeared to get louder. She was alone in her second-floor bedroom in her Hollywood Hills mansion.
Fearing the worst, Bullock went to close her bedroom security door about 6:30 a.m. and that’s when she caught a glimpse of him: A strange man wearing a dark sweatshirt and dark pants.
The June 8 close encounter was described in several search warrants used to gather evidence.
Locking the door, Bullock immediately dialed 911. Within minutes, Los Angeles police officers with guns at the ready entered the home and came upon Joshua James Corbett, 39.
They found photos of the actress in his pockets, a letter portraying himself as her husband and the love of his life and a concealed weapon permit from Utah.
They would later find a cache of illegal weapons at his Montrose home, including two automatic rifles. He is now charged with 19 felonies -- mostly gun and stalking charges.
Luckily for officers and Bullock, he was unarmed when they confronted him.
“Sandy. I’m sorry. Please don’t press charges,” Corbett allegedly shouted as he was taken into custody.
He repeated her name numerous times as officers removed him from the imposing Hollywood estate deep in the hills behind an elaborate fence and armed with a security system and cameras.
Bullock is just the latest actress to have a close encounter with a celebrity stalker. Rarely, however, do they get into stars’ homes and actually see them.
In recent years, a stalker turned up outside Halle Berry’s kitchen and another in Selena Gomez’s guest home. A man convicted of stalking Olympic Gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson jumped the fence when she was rehearsing at a studio for “Dancing With the Stars.”
During a search of his car, police found two loaded guns, duct tape, a wooden club and handwritten poetry that included the passage: “No matter what happens I will always love you.”
“The increased monetizing of the private lives of celebrities away from the ‘red carpet’ has resulted in a flood of photographs and personal information now instantly accessible on the Internet and at news stands to the mentally ill fan or criminal,” attorney Blair Berk, who represents Gomez, said in a statement.
”... The biggest problem I see happening is the difficulty we find in getting prosecutors to take seriously the repeated violations of criminal and civil restraining orders by stalkers, especially those with a history of violence and use of weapons,” Berk continued. “These are complete strangers who show up in my clients’ homes and at their children’s schools and pose a real and terrifying threat to their security.”
Since the murder of 21-year-old actress Rebecca Schaeffer in 1989, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Threat Management Unit has become expert at handling celebrity stalkers, while stars home often resemble fortresses with cameras, guards and safe rooms.
Most celebrity stalkers today troll the Web and social media, where information about celebrity addresses, families and behavior is readily available, security experts say.
In Bullock’s case, detectives determined that Corbett had scaled the two vast gates of the home and managed to force open a sunroom glass door that opened onto a rear patio. Exactly how long Corbett had been inside the home is unknown.
Bullock remained in her secure bedroom until police officers said it was safe to come out and talk to them. She attended the Spike TV’s “Guys Choice 2014" awards the night before.
She came home about 1 a.m, showered and went to sleep until she heard the banging a little after dawn.
When officers found Corbett in Bulliock’s home he had a notebook, four photos of Bullock and a letter addressed to her, according to a search warrant affidavit.
The letter, dated a day before the June 8 break-in, revealed the extent of Corbett’s focus on the actress, who he said was “very special to me.”
Corbett referred to himself as her husband and the father of Bullock’s young son, who is also mentioned by name. “I love you and Louie and only want to be a part of your lifes (sic) I miss you very much and think of you every moment of every day,” he wrote. “You are my girl!”
Corbett also wrote that he saw Bullock return home after the American Film Institute’s June 5 gala “and only wished I was at the entrance for your heart when you came home.”
He added, “you are my wife by law, the law of God and belong to me…” “Always and Love forever.” The letter was signed “your Husband, Joshua James Corbett.”
The letter suggested he had been watching Bullock’s home for days.
The notebook also “exhibited stalking, obsessive and fixated behavior” regarding Bullock and her son, wrote Det. Christina Cardozzi in the search warrant affidavit.
Corbett told investigators he broke into Bullock’s home not to scare the actress, but because he “wanted to show … security that her residence was not impervious and she was in danger,” the affidavit said.
Police at Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport later told LAPD investigators that Corbett rented a hangar there, where he kept a small plane, according to the affidavit. But his eviction was pending, police said, because Corbett had not paid rent for months.