Resident scares off home intruder

Published 1:16 am Saturday, January 19, 2008

NATCHEZ — At approximately 4 a.m. on Friday, a Natchez woman scared off an intruder already in her family’s home.

Melanie Downer, who lives on Pearl Street, said she was somewhat asleep when she heard the keypad for the home’s alarm system beeping.

Downer said the keypad indicated the back door was open.

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Downer also said she was not originally concerned because the wind had blown the door open in the past.

However, as a precaution Downer took the phone with her when she went downstairs.

And when she got downstairs she was quite surprised by what she found.

Downer said a man was standing in her husband’s home office.

“I yelled at him to get out of my house,” she said. “I was just shocked.”

Downer said by the time she looked down at the phone to dial 911 and looked back up, the intruder was gone.

Police Chief Mike Mullins said while he has no evidence linking Friday’s intrusion to other break-ins in the downtown area, he believes they are probably the same person.

Mullins said the intruder gained entry to the Downer’s home by cutting the caulking surrounding a pane of glass and removing the glass.

“He was then able to reach inside and jimmy the lock,” he said.

While Downer was never able to see anything but the back of the intruder she still was able to provide police with a physical description.

“He never turned around or said anything,” she said.

Downer said the man was wearing jeans and a dark leather blazer. She also said he had tightly cropped hair and was wearing something like a ski cap.

Downer said the intruder was well built and judging by his build she believes him to be in is 20s or 30s.

Mullins said due to poor lighting conditions in the house, Downer was not able to speculate as to the man’s skin color.

Mullins also said Downer said she did not hear a car leaving.

The only item reported stolen from the home was a black purse with white stitching. Mullins said it contained only loose change.

“We want anyone with information to call us,” he said.

Mullins said if anyone knows a family member or acquaintance fitting the description of the Pearl Street intruder, they should immediately contact the police station and ask for an investigator or call Crime Stoppers.

“(Crime Stoppers) has cash on hand for tips leading to an arrest,” he said.

The Natchez Police Station can be reached at 601-445-5565.

Crime Stoppers can be reached by dialing 601-442-5000.

Downer said she and her husband would be taking more precautions now. They are planning to buy a gun and will be adding deadbolts to their doors.

“We are not going to let some jerk change the way our family lives,” she said.