Homeowner Fends Off Intruder in Putnam County

By: Brooks Jarosz Email
By: Brooks Jarosz Email

POCA W.Va. (WSAZ) -- With adrenaline pumping, one homeowner decided to take matters into his own hands after he discovered an intruder had broken in to his home.

A home in Poca was the sight of an invasion on Wednesday afternoon on Haning Drive off Poca River Road. That's where a man kicked an intruder out of his home.

Police say the intruder was attempting to enter through the front door, breaking the handle. Then the back door, however, he had no luck with the deadbolts. Finally detectives say the intruder busted through the front window.

"I was nervous, and scared," victim Sherman Burlingame said. "He had me on the bathroom floor and I thought well he doesn't have a weapon so I'm going to go for it."

Victim Sherman Burlingame tells WSAZ.com that he was downstairs watching a movie when he heard something but thought it was just his son-in-law.

"So I came over here and used the toilet and when I got done, I turned around he was standing there and I said, 'Who the hell are you?'" Burlingame said. "I was moving towards him and he was moving towards me and that's when he grabbed me and forced me to the ground."

Burlingame was recovering from a recent surgery. He says he was threatened by the intruder several times until he decided to do something out of desperation.

"Finally I just got, I'll say the courage to stand up to him," Burlingame said. "I opened this door and forced him out the door and shut the door and I turned around and ran upstairs."

Getting up and grabbing the invader, Burlingame managed to push him down the hall and out the back door. He then says he ran upstairs and looked out the front window, while calling police with details and a description.

"My granddaughter has always wanted a German shepherd," Burlingame said. "We will have a German shepherd in the next 30 days."

Burlingame is also installing a security system in his home.

Burlingame told police he thought there were two crooks behind the invasion, one inside and one staying outside in a getaway van.

Putnam County Sheriff Mark Smith says this home was probably targeted randomly.

Sheriff Smith says defending yourself in this type of situation is not always the best idea.

"We don't advice people to do that because that could turn bad for you real quickly," Sheriff Mark Smith said. "If this guy would have had a gun, he would have probably shot him."

The intruder only made off with some jewelry and a small camera. Police only have a vague description but the homeowner says the intruder was seen in a white family-size van leaving his home.

Detectives say they think there may be a connection between this home invasion and several break-ins in Cabell County.

If you have any information that can help police crack the case, call the Putnam County Sheriff's Department at 304-586-0256.

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