A 14-year-old Massachusetts girl who was home alone thwarted a burglary when she confronted a man who had broken into her house and was attempting to steal items Friday morning.
Middleborough police said they were called to a residence on Spruce Street around 7:20 a.m. for a report of a man who broke in while a teenage girl was inside the home.
The girl, who was not injured in the incident, told police she woke up to the sound of an intruder in her home and then confronted the suspect while he was allegedly trying to rob the home. The man then fled the house.
"Somebody, somebody just tried breaking into my house," the girl, in tears, can be heard telling the 911 operator in an audio recording of the call released by police. "I'm still alone. I scared him. I took a video of his truck leaving, so I have his license plate number."
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"I'm just really scared," the teen then added. "I don't know if there's somebody in the house."
Speaking to NBC10 Boston Friday night, Avery Cormier says she heard someone walking around her home just before 7:30 a.m. and first assumed that her mother came home from work for a minute.
“I watched boots walk into her room, and I’m like, ‘That’s not her. That doesn’t look like her,’” Avery recalled.
That's when the teen raced to the kitchen, grabbed a pair of knives and confronted the intruder, screaming at him.
“I was like, ‘Get out of my house! Get out of my house!’ And he looked very shocked,” Avery said.
“I went and yelled at him to get out of the house, because it’s not his house,” she added.
Meanwhile, Avery's younger sister woke up and called their mom.
“What are you saying to me? There’s a man in the house, you know? And, ‘Yeah, yeah. He broke in, and Avery chased him out.’ I’m like, ‘What do you mean Avery chased him out?’” Dianne Tautkus recalled of her daughter's phone call.
The intruder ran outside to his pickup truck and took off, but Avery followed him out and was able to capture a video of his 2010 Chevy Silverado and its license plate number, which she shared with police -- who were able to use it to help track him down.
"I would like to commend the courageous actions of this girl," Middleborough Police Chief Joseph Perkins said in a statement. "Even in the midst of an extremely scary event, her bravery assisted us in identifying the man believed to be responsible for breaking into her home."
The suspect, identified by police as Joseph Ridge, 58, of Bourne, was apprehended a short time later by Massachusetts State Police as he drove over the Bourne Bridge. Ridge was taken to the Middleborough Police Department for booking.
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Police described Ridge as a "career criminal." He recently finished a 15-year prison following a robbery conviction. Police say he likely forgot that it was Good Friday and assumed the Middleboro house was empty when he went inside.
The police chief credits Avery's quick and courageous thinking with helping them nab Ridge.
“The fact that she turned her video camera on and captured him leaving — that broke the case," the police chief said. "I don’t know if we would’ve been able to identify the individual any other way.”
Avery's mom wasn't at all surprised by how things unfolded.
“She’s a brave kid. She’s really a brave little kid,” Tautkus said of her daughter.
Ridge appeared later Friday in Wareham District Court on charges of aggravated breaking and entering during the daytime, disorderly conduct and trespassing. A judge set his cash bail at $200,000.