An elderly woman sat fearfully in her living room for about an hour early Thursday morning after a man broke into her home to “get out of the cold.”
The suspect, identified as 29-year-old Tyler L. Weed, was taken into custody at about 8 a.m. Thursday. He faces a charge of residential burglary and malicious mischief. A sheriff’s SWAT team found him hiding under a “mound of blankets” in the basement of the home in the 8500 block of North Atlantic Street, just south of the Y on Division Street, said Cpl. Mark Gregory in a news release.
But not before he spent about an hour next to the woman in her living room. Reached by phone Thursday, the 88-year-old woman, who asked not to be identified, said she was startled awake at about 3:30 a.m. to the sound of glass breaking and a human leg peeking out from a large front window.
“Then he came in and fell, lost his balance and fell on the floor,” she said. “I asked him if he’s OK and he didn’t answer. I asked him something like ‘Why are you here?’ and he said ‘I needed to get out of the cold.’ ”
The woman said Weed stayed put for several minutes, then suddenly walked into the kitchen and returned to sit down in a recliner. There he sat, in the dark living room, near the 88-year-old, not saying a word. The two stayed like that for about 40 minutes, the woman said.
Asked whether she was scared at all, her answer seemed to surprise even her: “I don’t know.”
She eventually must have had enough, because at about 4:40 a.m., she pressed a panic button on her home monitoring alert system. The company’s call to her home phone went unanswered. However, the fire department was automatically dispatched to her address.
A phone call was also placed to her neighbor, who walked over to the home and noticed signs of a break-in. She left, called 911 and minutes later deputies arrived.
“She got the police and firemen here and the SWAT team,” she said. “Oh my goodness. I didn’t see all of this, I heard about it.”
Around this time, she said Weed left the living room toward the kitchen, then must have made his way downstairs into her basement. Deputies were able to remove the woman before searching the rest of the house.
Gregory said Thursday it was unclear whether Weed was under the influence of drugs.
As for the woman, she was surrounded by a support group Thursday afternoon, including workers who were there to right any wrongs, such as cleaning up glass and boarding up the broken window.
Though there was one thing they couldn’t fix: the nagging question.
“Why did he do that?” she said. “Why did he do it here? Why didn’t he talk once he got inside? He certainly didn’t hurt me. He didn’t even hardly say anything.”
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