Resident scares off home invaders with gun, Michigan police search for suspects

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BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. (WNDU) - Michigan State Police are in search of suspects who attempted a home invasion in Bainbridge Township Wednesday night, but were scared off by an armed homeowner.

Christina Utley and her family live just off of M-140 in Bainbridge Township and Wednesday night just before midnight, she says she heard suspicious noises outside her home and woke up her boyfriend just in time to stop a home invasion.

“I heard something moving around and I went into the hallway and as soon as I turned on that light, it sounded like somebody dropped something and that’s when I checked out the front door,” said Utley. “Something wasn’t right with the light, I could tell, my gut was just telling me.”

“I was woken up by my girlfriend and she told me she was hearing weird noises, so I got up to investigate and I grabbed my gun,” said Coda Wolford, Utley’s boyfriend, who also lives in the home.

“When I got around the corner, there were two masked men trying to break into our window and the masked men, they were right at the second window there trying to open it up,” he added.

“[A suspect] looked up at me and he told me to go back inside and he pointed his gun at me and when he pointed his gun at me, that’s when I pointed mine back and I fired a shot,” said Wolford.

At that point, the suspects fled into a field on the property while Utley and her family members inside the home called police.

When police arrived, a canine found one of the suspects in the field.

That suspect, a 27-year-old white man, is in custody; but the second suspect, and possibly a third, is still on the loose.

“My hope is that they catch them before anything happens to somebody else like it did to us,” said Utley.

“I don’t think they really realize how much fear you can really put into people by doing something like that,” said Wolford. “It doesn’t just affect you that day, it affects you for a while. You don’t want to go outside at night, you’re spooked by every little noise.”

Wolford says the suspects were wearing sweatshirts, ski masks and cargo pants. One of them appeared to have camouflaged cargo pants.

The homeowner's daughter told police later Thursday afternoon she found what police believe to be the weapon the suspect had in the woods, and it has been identified as a BB gun. Police took custody of it as evidence.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Michigan State Police at 269-683-4411.