Court: Car burglar's pants fall while attempting to escape residents

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 10, 2014 

Austin S. Smith

When a Mayfield Drive resident stepped outside her home Saturday to have a cigarette, she locked eyes with Austin S. Smith, allegedly sitting inside her son's girlfriend's car.

"I asked him 'What are you doing?' and he just stared at me," the woman said during a Monday morning Recorder's Court hearing. "That's when I slammed open the front door and called for my son."

Thus began the neighborhood pursuit of the alleged car burglar, according to court testimony.

Smith, 19, faced six charges of entering auto, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, theft by receiving stolen property and theft by taking during the hearing. He was also charged with possession of a pistol under the age of 18. That charge was dropped.

When police arrived at the 4200 block of Mayfield Drive, residents had detained Smith, an officer told the court. Witnesses told police that after the woman discovered Smith breaking into the car, her son chased after the suspect, who allegedly was using both a heavy coat and a jacket to conceal the objects he had stolen from six vehicles.

At some point during the chase, Smith's pants allegedly fell around his ankles. The son then allegedly noticed a handgun in Smith's possession, and tackled him. He managed the wrestle the weapon away from Smith before striking him in the head, an officer told the court.

Police later found car keys, a change purse, a flashlight, a resident's St. Francis Hospital ID badge and several other small objects on Smith's person. Officers later determined that Smith took these objects from six nearby vehicles.

Several other objects, including utility knives, prescription medications and flashlights were also found on Smith or in the surrounding area. The owners for those objects have not been found yet.

Judge Michael Cielinski set Smith's bond at $63,000.

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