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Neighbor nabs burglar, holds him at gunpoint

Posted: February 27, 2012 - 12:28pm  |  Updated: February 27, 2012 - 6:51pm
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Homeowner Keneth Straughn (left) got a call that his neighbor Michael Starnes caught someone trying to break into his home at 5875 Jaime Drive. Starnes held the burglar at gunpoint until deputies arrived.  Jim Blaylock
Jim Blaylock
Homeowner Keneth Straughn (left) got a call that his neighbor Michael Starnes caught someone trying to break into his home at 5875 Jaime Drive. Starnes held the burglar at gunpoint until deputies arrived.

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Michael Starnes saw someone acting suspiciously Monday at his neighbor's home and took immediate action.
Starnes caught a burglar and held him at gunpoint until Columbia County sheriff's deputies arrived at the Jaime Drive home south of Harlem.

"He's on the back porch and he's trying to break the back glass," Starnes said of the burglar. "I held him at gunpoint and brought him back around here (to the front) and waited for the cops to show up. It's just that simple."

A Grovetown man and woman were charged with the attempted burglary: Brandon Dickens, 21, of the 400 block of Railroad Avenue; and Anita Nicole Williams, 23, of the 300 block of Newmantown Road.

Starnes' neighbor, Keneth Straughn, was away baby-sitting his grandchildren at about 9:30 a.m. when Starnes said he saw a sport utility vehicle pull up and a man walk up Straughn's long driveway.

Williams was in the SUV with a 2-year-old, according to Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

Starnes said he went over to let the man know his neighbor wasn't home, but he took his his gun along.
When he didn't find the stranger on the porch, Starnes said he went to the back and found the burglar attempting to break into the home.

Deputies arrived and arrested the burglar.

"We've got a good neighborhood watch," Starnes said. "We watch out for each other's place when we know somebody's not home. They do the same for me when I'm not home."

Straughn said he got a call about the incident and drove home.

"I was worried," Straughn said. "I know how he is. He don't let nothing happen around here."

Straughn said he's relieved the burglar didn't get into the house and thankful his neighbor was so quick to act.

"I'm glad, really glad," Straughn said. "Everybody ought to do it. Everybody ought to tote a gun in the house."

With the weak economy and so many people out of work, Straughn said he's not surprised to see crimes like burglary happening more often.

But Straughn is happy his neighbor prevented him from becoming a burglary victim.

"I'm proud of him," Straughn said. "I'm glad."

Dickens and Williams, who also faces a second degree cruelty to children charge, were booked into the Columbia County Detention Center late Monday. A bond amount was not immediately available.

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Comments (1)

Just My Opinion

What a GREAT neighbor!

I mean, this is exactly the type of neighbor I want and the type of neighbor I will strive to be! Mr. Starnes, you are a hero because you did what should have been done when it needed to be done. That wannabe burglar should be thankful that he was smart enough not to have made a run for it or to turn on Mr. Starnes! I sure hope my neighbors read this story. I need to get a gun.

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