MILLSTADT, Ill. – Three burglary suspects were caught Friday morning in rural St. Clair County thanks to neighbors who keep watch over each other and dedicated deputies and police officers.
Although people live far apart they still do a good job of keeping an eye on each other. That vigilance paid off after this home invasion.
“Nobody knows more about the neighborhood than people living there,” said Captain Bruce Fleshren, a detective for the St. Clair County Sheriff Department.
The incident happened at a vacant home. Three suspects showed up but before they could take anything away, their truck got stuck in the mud.
Detectives think the suspects walked to a nearby house and tried to break in. A married couple lived there and the wife was still at home. She heard the two men and a juvenile male using metal tools to break in through her back door.
She wanted to remain anonymous.
“I heard multiple male voices. Of course, I panicked because when the full grasps of what was going on hit me I was terrified,” she said.
She said she screamed and the three suspects fled. The home security camera caught one of them. He was almost left behind.
The security system alerted the woman’s husband who was in Atlanta on business. He called the sheriff and neighbors, many who are members of this neighborhood watch.
“We have no problem calling the police. We have no problems having cameras on our houses, everyone is aware out here,” said Stephanie Jones who lives in the area.
Deputies, police, and a canine unit scoured the area looking for the burglary suspects for three hours. They were finally spotted and captured. The neighborhood watch did its job.
The female burglary victim had a message for the three who broke into her home.
“You know what, you guys just stop. You’re throwing away your lives,” she said.