Resident's quick thinking helps nab home intruder
Police said the suspect may be linked to several other area burglaries.
Published: Sunday, January 4, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 3, 2004 at 11:21 p.m.
When a northwest Gainesville resident came home Friday night to find a strange man stealing change from his bedroom, he did something most would probably never consider - he fought back.
Officials usually caution against confronting intruders, but in this case, Gainesville police said Phillip Reedy's quick thinking is what helped them catch the suspect, who had two outstanding warrants and may be linked to several other area burglaries.
Reedy, 43, arrived home Friday around 8 p.m. and found an intruder in the master bedroom shaking coins out of a large water jug. When the intruder noticed Reedy standing in the room, he pretended to have a gun tucked into his waistband.
He then grabbed Reedy's acoustic Epiphone guitar, which was nearby, and swung it at him. Reedy tried several times to calm the intruder down, asking him to just lay on the floor and give up.
"He attempted three or four times to get by me out of the master bedroom and down the hall," Reedy said. "But he quickly realized that wasn't working.
"Every time he came at me, I hit him."
After several minutes of struggle, the intruder jumped onto Reedy's computer table, threw the monitor through a small bedroom window and escaped.
"He had a hard time getting out that window," Reedy said. "He was not a small guy - about 6 foot and 185 or 190 pounds."
Reedy wouldn't let the intruder go that easily, though.
The previous night, a burglar stole about $170 out of the water jug, which was being used to save up for a trip to Disney World for his three daughters. Reedy said he wasn't sure this was the same burglar, but that didn't matter.
"I was just a little infuriated that he was in my kids' Disney money for a second time," Reedy said.
After Reedy and a neighbor, Ben Tibbet, chased the suspect for a few blocks, they lost him and called the police.
When police arrived around 8:30 p.m., they found the intruder left behind a lot of blood when he jumped through the broken window.
"We knew he ripped something open, but we didn't know what," said Sgt. Keith Kameg with the Gainesville Police Department.
Police used canines to follow the intruder's trail, which eventually ended near the Glen Springs Manor Apartments.
Officers also found a blue Eddie Bauer bicycle, an Xbox and several Xbox games in a bag hidden in a bush outside Reedy's house. Kameg said an Xbox and several games had been stolen from a house in the area no more than an hour before Reedy's house was broken into.
Around midnight Friday, a police officer who was in the emergency room at Shands at AGH noticed a male fitting the suspect's description. The man was cut and bleeding, but said he had fallen on some glass at a friend's house.
The man was identified as Jimmy Scott, 19. Officers put together a photo lineup that included Scott's photo, and Reedy positively identified Scott as the intruder.
Officers got permission from one of Scott's relatives to search his Glen Springs Manor Apartment. They found blood-stained clothes, plus several thousand dollars worth of jewelry and electronics.
Kameg said Scott is unemployed, so the jewelry and electronics are assumed to be stolen.
"Hopefully we will clear up a significant amount of burglaries because of this person," he said.
Scott, who was booked into the Alachua County jail, is facing charges of burglary and racketeering from two outstanding warrants, as well as one count of burglary and one count of assault from Friday night's break-in.
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