We often hear police say that everyday people need to be their eyes and ears in the fight against crime. And that appears to be the case in the recent arrest of a man suspected of burglary.
Police say the man committed one burglary in one subdivision and was attempting to break in to another home in a nearby subdivision. And police believe there would have been several more had it not been for two alert residents.
Tiago Desouza of Granger remains in the St. Joseph County Jail on burglary charges.
“He recently came back to the area, is originally from the area, got back on to drugs and was trying to support his addiction and couldn't maintain a job and started breaking into houses,” says Lt. Regis Thimons of the St. Joseph County Police Department.
Thimons says Desouza successfully robbed a home in Brendon Hills and would have likely tried breaking into several more.
“Fortunately, we were able to get him at an early stage,” says Lt. Thimons.
Thanks to a heads up resident of Quail Ridge North, we'll simply call "Jane" to protect her identity.
“I'm glad it turned out the way it did,” says Jane.
It was about 9:45 in the morning when Jane looked out her front window, saw a strange car parked across the street and a man walk through her yard.
He then walked across the street and disappeared in her neighbor's back yard.
“He was pulling the screen off of the window. I just kind of waltzed up, like three times in a row and continually yelled stop and he jumped down. At that point he began to run and I dialed 911,” explains Jane.
While Jane talked to police, the man ran to his car. Jane wasn't far behind.
“At that time I said if you don't stop, I’m going to call police,” says Jane. “He kind of stopped and started to walk towards me and so he literally came right up to me and, at that point, he tried to give me an explanation that he was after some dude who had taken some money.”
Fortunately, right about that time, she flagged down a neighbor in his car and the suspect decided to high tail it out of there, but not before Jane and the neighbor got a license plate number.
“And then the police literally, I think, they had to pass him as they were coming in and he was speeding out,” says Jane.
He wasn't caught then, but the license plate number came back to Desouza's brother and Jane identified his mug shot.
“I was literally face-to-face with this gentleman and I was just able to pick him out,” explains Jane. “And I think I received a phone call in three to four days and they made an arrest.”
Thimons says it shows the importance of the Neighborhood Watch.
“Jane actually took one step further and became involved,” says Lt. Thimons. “Not always recommended but she did a very brave thing which led to us being able to identify this suspect.”
“I'm glad I did it,” says Jane. “You know, the neighbors are glad that he didn't actually break into their house. They said had he broken in, it would have been a different feel for them. So I’m glad I did it.”
Jane says she's also glad her other neighbor stopped when she flagged him down. She fears what might have happened had he not stopped.