SNOWDOUN, AL (WSFA) - Four men are behind bars after quick reaction from a vigilant neighbor and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department. Now, a Snowdoun homeowner says he'll rest much easier knowing the men who kicked down his door and ransacked his home will be spending time behind bars.
One phone call from Don Meachem's neighbor turned the homeowner's day upside down Tuesday. "It's got me terrified," Meachem said. "I haven't ever been broken into."
When he pulled into his driveway, he knew things at home wouldn't be the same for a long time. His back door was kicked in. Inside, the home was a wreck. "They just threw the mattresses off the bed, stuff just strewed out," Meachem explained.
"They" are four suspects identified as 31-year-old Barry Gardner, 18-year-old Rodricko Davis, 43-year-old Raymond Jackson and 19-year-old Joseph Reeves.
With a rash of burglaries in the area around Meachem's home on Highway 331, authorities decided they'd had enough. No expense was spared. A full scale manhunt was launched to capture the suspects.
The suspects were greeted by more than a dozen sheriff's deputies, search dogs and even a state trooper helicopter. The hunt came to an end thirty minutes later on Snowdoun Chambers Road.
Thanks to Meachem's quick-thinking neighbor, the suspects were slowed from escaping while authorities were en route. The neighbor blocked the driveway. And the suspects will have a difficult time explaining their innocence in court. The neighbor's new Christmas present, a home movie camera, got some use as the suspects burglarized and then tried to run.
"It's just mind boggling to me right now," Meachem said, "Just nervous. Don't know why, just a bad feeling...someone violating your home."
The victim says he'll now go about tackling the repairs his home needs and continue to count his blessings. He's thankful he wasn't around when the suspects set sights on his home. "It would've another think if I had been home, probably a lot worse," he explained. Police confirm the suspects stole three guns from the home. Each was eventually recovered.
Meachem says he usually rides to work with a co-worker, but for some reason decided to drive to work Tuesday. He thinks the empty driveway made a tempting target.
The suspects are now being held on burglary and theft charges at the Montgomery County Jail.