Neighbor, burglars' carelessness lead Portsmouth officers to quick arrests

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by Brian Farrell, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on August 1, 2013 at 12:11 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 1 at 12:21 AM

PORTSMOUTH -- Police said they arrested a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old Tuesday afternoon shortly after the teenagers burglarized 2 apartments in Olde Towne.

"One thing about me. I'm always up. I'm always up looking. My neighbor downstairs'll tell you: You ain't coming around here without me hearing you," said Nathaniel Williams.

Williams saw that his downstairs neighbor's back door was open Tuesday. The neighbor, Mary Hines, was at work.

Williams thought the building's maintenance man might have been inside the apartment. When Williams called for him, there was no response. He realized there was a problem, especially because he heard somebody moving around inside the unit.

Williams reached the maintenance man by telephone. He met Williams at the building on South Street.

"He said, 'You take the front,' but by the time I got to the front, they had run out the front, but what they did, they left a trail when they ran out the front," explained Williams.

That trail included napkins taken from Hines' home during the burglary. She suspects the teenagers tried to wipe their fingerprints from items inside the apartment, then dropped the napkins after Williams scared them off. A K9 officer picked up their scent.

"Once they had the dog come in, he went right to the suspects. I thought that was truly amazing, 'cause I'm an animal lover," Hines told 13News Now.

Officer said they caught the teenagers a few blocks away on County Street. They recovered a laptop and diamond ring stolen from Hines' apartment as well as items taken from another neighbor.

"Nathan was on the ball," Hines said, referring to Williams. "Nathan is a 100 percent hero. He will sit up in the window at night when we're gone and watch us come in, and he'll say, 'You in?' and I'll say, 'Yes, I'm in.' If he hear any noise, he'll say, 'Is that you?' I'll say, 'Yes, I'm okay,' and he just looks out for all the women in the building. Always have, always will."

Hines added, "I would tell anyone: Get to know your neighbors and look out for one another, because that's what it's going to take to stop all the crime."

 

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