Friday, one Columbus woman was given the chance to confront her burglars.
The middle-aged woman, who lives near Floyd Road, came home to her windows thrown open and alarm blaring. Her security company told her they had just missed those responsible for the break-in.
Several burglaries later, Columbus Police say they've been able to catch those suspects — one of whom has also been charged with the July homicide of Curtis Turner.
Laquinton Robinson, Ricky Henderson, Jacobee Matthews, Demon Moore, Emmanuel Williams all faced burglary, theft by receiving stolen property, theft by receiving stolen vehicle and possession of marijuana with intent charges during a Recorder's Court hearing Friday. Williams faced three counts of burglary, while Henderson received additional theft, obstruction and driving with a suspended license charges.
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Robinson and Matthews also faced violation of probation charges.
The string of burglaries the five are accused of, which stretch between September and November, ended abruptly when a construction worker in a neighborhood near David Court reported a suspicious vehicle Wednesday. He told officers a grey Acura was driving slowly through the alcove, and seemed to be looking for unoccupied houses.
Police said the tipster was unaware that the suspects were allegedly leaving the scene of their latest burglary, where they swiped a TV, computer and jewelry from the David Court home, located off Whitesville Road. A 2010 Nissan Maxima was also taken from the residence.
Officers were left with no clues as to where the Maxima or the Acura might have gone, until managers at the 1024 Veterans Parkway Econo Lodge called, saying the vehicles were parked outside two of the rooms.
Police rushed to the hotel, just to find an unknown person circling the Maxima between the Econo Lodge and a nearby gas station. When the driver saw officers, he allegedly sped off and led some investigators on a chase down Veterans Parkway, ending with a wreck at an unnamed apartment complex downtown.
The car was found abandoned, and the driver is still unknown.
While officers chased the driver of the Maxima, others stayed behind to confront the occupants of two rooms — Robinson, Matthews and Henderson.
On entering the room, police found an assortment of stolen goods and contraband. Some of the haul included large flat screen TVs, Samsung and iPhone cell phones, a Playstation 3 and the keys to the grey Acura.
Three guns — all loaded and some stolen — were recovered inside the hotel room as well, along with 160.8 grams of marijuana, hidden behind the toilet.
Other burglaries members of the group are suspected include a home broken into include an Appaloosa Drive residence, a 50th Street residence and the 43rd Street residence police believe the Acura was stolen from. The burglaries were spread over a two month period.
Matthews told the court that no one in arrested group was responsible for the burglaries. He explained their presence in the hotel by saying they were occupying the space for a cousin — who, in turn, were occupying it for someone else.
"My cousin, someone offered him $100 to rent the room," Matthews said. "He's got kids; how could he say no? But we were just in there smoking marijuana, smoking with each other and having a good time. We didn't take anything from anyone."
This explanation was not satisfactory for the Floyd Road resident, who said the burglars broke into her home within days of her mother's passing. While the victim spoke her mind, each of the suspects hung their heads and refused to lock eyes with their accuser.
"I just want to thank the Columbus Police Department and Sheriff’s Department for getting these criminals off the street. It’s a shame that I can’t even bury my mother without someone climbing through my window," the woman said. “There’s nothing really of value in my home, but it’s the damage that you guys do that’s the problem. I hope they sentence you to the max.”
Judge Michael Joyner set no bond for any of Robinson's charges. Robinson will be heard on his murder charge Tuesday.
Williams' bond was set at $119,000, while both Henderson and Moore received $69,000 bonds.
Matthews was given no bond on his burglary. His other bonds were set collectively at $44,000.