DPD man-rule: Burglary is the new public intox charge (updated)

Update @ Thursday afternoon - Charges are being upgraded to (a minimum) of criminal mischief, while DPD explores other options

Updated @ Wednesday morning with comments from the second victim!

When it comes to fighting crime, it helps when you have the bad guy in custody right after the incident takes place. And if he has blood on his hands (the real stuff), you don't even need to call in CSI to make the case.

So would someone tell me why someone found to have tried to break into three houses along a Lowest Greenville residential street - with blood on his hands and the window - is only going to jail on a public intoxication charge??

Isn't there a big difference between the drunks on Lowest Greenville and someone sticking his hand into your house? According to the DPD, there's no difference.

Here's the story as sent to BD late Tuesday. The names and streets have been edited to protect their privacy.

Last evening around 1:30 a.m., my wife and I were awakened by the sound of breaking glass. Someone had punched their first through the window of our front door. Fortunately, the window did not give in enough and they left (with blood and DNA on my door). The police arrived shortly thereafter.

After seeing the damage, one of the officers mentioned he noticed a white male walking shirtless with his shirt wrapped around his hand two blocks west of the house. They quickly realized this was, most likely, the perpetrator and was arrested shortly thereafter where they last saw him.

Around the same time, three other residents were calling 911 to report similar issues, and in two of them he had also broken the front door windows.

Initially, the police were talking about charging him with criminal mischief. But when they go to the detention center, the jail sergeant instructed the officers to arrest the suspect on public intoxication.

(BD Note/Updated - A review of the DPD offense reports database revealed two other incidents: one on the same street, and one around the corner. The incident reported in this article is not listed in the offense database.)

I was astounded when I caught wind of this. They told me they didn’t think they could make a case against him for attempted burglary of a habitation given the fact his body entered my dwelling space (when his fist went through my front door). At a minimum, he should have been arrested on class A Criminal Mischief charge. I pointed out that there was blood on my door and blood in the squad car. That should be sufficient to connect him to my house. After some convincing, a crime scene investigator came to my house to retrieve blood samples.

Obviously, I am pushing for something more than Public Intoxication. What a joke if that is what they try to do.

BD has heard too many stories of the bad guys getting charged with petty offenses when it should be big ticket charges. A Public Intoxication charge is used when someone is a hazard to himself and he can't get home. In this case, the guy was trying to get into someone else's home and was a hazard to other people.

After BD posted this story, another neighbor identified as the first victim (ten minutes before the incident described above) sent BD their experiences...

Regarding your story about the man who was breaking into houses and charged with public intoxication - I live in one of the homes he broke into. And I am FURIOUS!

It was probably the scariest night of my life. About 1:00 AM, my dog woke me up to go to the bathroom. I got up, let her out and went and laid back down. The next thing I know, the window that’s 3 feet (if that) from my bed is shattering and I am instantly on the floor. I am terrified at this point and I look up and I can see someone standing at the window and then he’s gone.

So I am crawling around on the floor trying to find clothes and I’m too scared to turn on a light because I don’t have a clue who this person is or what’s going on.

I finally got myself together after a couple of minutes and walked around back to knock on my neighbor’s door to use her phone since in the mayhem, I broke mine. She’s a night owl and works weird hours. She happened to be up and saw the guy running. I call the cops, they come and go, and then the cop comes back and tells me they caught the guy down the street. Not sure who he was or why he did it. I live alone and last night trying to go to sleep was almost impossible.

The only thing that helped was knowing that he was probably still in jail and wouldn’t be coming back. Now I find out that he is out and probably was out that night???? My neighbor had a full description of him for the police and practically served him up on a silver platter. I was so impressed that night that the DPD caught him so quickly……now I find out that they slapped him on the wrist.

The officer who responded to me was so professional and VERY nice. He did not have to come back and tell me that the man had been arrested, but he did. I couldn’t have been more impressed with him and I wish that I had his name so I could thank him. It’s not his fault that the man was only charged with PI. I don’t know what the logic was behind such a small charge, but I can assure you if the officer who decided what the charge would be could experience even half of the fear that I did, he’d re-think it

Since he was already charged with public intoxication, and there's no name on the arrest record, BD is making the assumption this guy is out on the street right now. Once his hand heals, he may be knocking on your door. Hopefully a hungry Rottweiler will be waiting on the other side and manage to secure a very large blood sample - and a few fingers too.

Maybe DPD needs some advice from CSI's Horatio...


By Avi S. Adelman under Crimewatch , Legal issues