2012-04-19 / Front Page

Neighbor Thwarts Potential Burglary in Broad Daylight

According to the Lee County Sheriff ’s Office, a potential burglary in broad daylight was thwarted last week after a witness reported seeing two people loading something on a flatbed trailer at a neighbor’s house. On Friday, April 13, at 11:26 a.m. Debra Ruetenik said she was driving into her neighborhood when she witnessed a woman gathering something from her neighbor’s yard and she knew that her neighbor was not home. She said that when the woman saw her, she dropped what she had in her hand.

Ruetenik turned her vehicle around to investigate what was going on and saw a white truck leave the property, driving on CR 417 towards Hwy. 77 in Tanglewood. The driver signaled like he was going to go toward Rockdale, but turned toward Lexington instead. Ruetenik called 911 and followed the vehicle.

Ruetenik said, “The driver of the truck was driving very erratically until he got just past Tanglewood. At that point, he slammed on his brakes and pulled over to the side of the road. I slowed behind him and stopped in the middle of the right hand lane of the highway. A man, who had been driving, exited his vehicle and began yelling at me about following him, all of which was witnessed by the 911 operator, as I was still on the phone with them.”

She asked him what they were doing at her neighbor’s property and the man said it was none of her business and what he was taking was just junk.

Ruetenik said, “At that point, the guy jumped back in his truck and floored it towards Lexington, going at least 80 mph. I continued to follow with 911 on the phone. When we reached Lexington City Limits, a Lexington Police car got in the chase and pulled the truck over at the Cefco gas station.”

Lexington Police Captain, Clarence Yarbrough, questioned the occupants, holding them until Chief Deputy Nathan Lapham and Deputy Allen arrived from the Sheriff’s Department.

The Sheriff’s Deputies took pictures of the items on the trailer and took over the investigation. Later the Sheriff’s Department went to Ruetenik’s residence to take a statement and to gather evidence for the investigation. Ruetenik showed the officers tracks where the vehicle had parked and where the people had been.

She said, “These people were acting suspicious and I did what I would hope any of my neighbors would do for me. It’s just the right thing to do.”

The suspects were from Grimes County. The driver was cited by LPD for having an expired driver’s license.

The investigation continues with possible charges pending.

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