A Columbus man broke into three apartments, was apprehended with the help of one of his victims, and then helped police sort out the stolen goods, according to Recorders Court testimony Saturday.
At about 2 p.m. Friday, police responded to a report of a robbery in progress at Brittwood Apartments, on the 2400 block of Britt David Road.
One of the victims, Linnen Leach, said that he returned home and saw Ernest Smith behind his apartment with two backpacks.
Leach said he wanted to ask Smith questions, but pursued him when Smith fled.
Smith then went into a Strayer University building and, when he re-emerged, no longer had either backpack, an officer said in court.
Officers recovered both bags inside the building. After being apprehended by officers and Mirandized, Smith said during questioning that the items inside the bags were stolen. He then helped officers identify which items belonged to which apartment.
Smith broke into three separate apartments, but only stole from two of them, an officer said. He took money and electronics, among other things.
According to police, none of the three victims knew of or had seen Smith before. Leach said their apartment was chosen because no cars were in the parking lot.
Smith is charged with three counts of burglary in the first degree and giving a false name to police.
Judge Julius Hunter set his bond at $15,000 for each count of burglary. Smiths case will be forwarded to Muscogee County Superior Court.