Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Florida: Burglar chased off by shotgun-wielding homeowner

Ocala, Florida

From the Ocala Star-Banner of June 4, 2009
Burglar chased off by shotgun-wielding homeowner

An unemployed man who reportedly sneaked into a home shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday was chased away by a shotgun-wielding homeowner.

According to officials, Stephen Cody Hand, 18, was later arrested and charged with occupied burglary.

The victim, Harold D. Chick, told officials that he and his wife and daughter were watching television in his bedroom when the women fell asleep. Chick said he had just closed his eyes when he heard the television shut off.

He said he opened his eyes and saw a white man, about 5-foot-7, with dark hair, wearing a white tank top and plaid shorts, standing in the room. Chick said he grabbed his shotgun, which was nearby, and the intruder slowly walked out of the home.

"He was standing there at the foot of the bed, and I was wondering who the hell is standing there," said Chick, 67, in an interview with the Star-Banner.

Chick told deputies the man may have silently entered the home through the unlocked front door. The door was left unsecured so his other daughter, who was visiting a friend, could come in. Chick told the Star-Banner the door is normally secured, but because his daughter did not want to disturb her mother, who is a nurse, he left the door unlocked.

Nothing was taken from the home, located in the 3400 block of Southwest 90th Street, officials said.

Deputies were called and a perimeter was set up. During their search, deputies spotted a man wearing plaid shorts, but no shirt, who fit the description of the man they were looking for.

Authorities brought Chick to the location, where he identified Hand as the man who was inside his home.

Asked by deputies where he was coming from, Hand told them he was sleeping and had been at home all night. Asked about fresh shoe prints in the dirt, he said he was walking down the road.

Officials then arrested him.

And though Hand is in the Marion County Jail, the incident has left Chick searching for answers.

"I would like to know what was he up to. What was he going to do? I don't know if he had a weapon," Chick said.

Hand declined an interview request.

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