Police: Crime interrupted by mother, daughter, who were confronted at gunpoint
Updated at 5:30 to add details from the criminal complaint
By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times
School buses were detoured Tuesday afternoon after a Birmingham Township mother and daughter interrupted a burglary, two armed suspects fled, and police launched a search to locate them.
Two teens were taken into custody several hours later at the home of one of them – Alex W. Granger, 18 – about 150 yards from the “botched daytime burglary” site, said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan. The other suspect is Daniel K. Walston, 17, of Coatesville. Hogan said Walston, who “was defiant and uncooperative,” would be charged as an adult, given the nature of the crimes.
Hogan gave this account: At about 2:50 p.m. on Tuesday, a mother and daughter, who reside in the 600 block of General Weedon Drive, entered their home and were confronted by the two defendants, who had handkerchiefs over their faces and were pointing guns at the women, one of whom broke free, ran outside, and called 9-1-1 while the defendants fled.
The victims quickly determined that a number of items had been stolen from the house, said Hogan, including two .357 Magnum handguns, electronic equipment, jewelry, coins and a trashcan. He said police discovered a damaged first-floor window that appeared to be the entry point.
Birmingham Township Police, assisted by members of the Chester County Detectives and the Chester County Sheriff’s Office, located the teens at Granger’s home, where his mother gave police permission to search the premises, Hogan said. Police located the stolen goods, including a checkbook belonging to one of the victims and the trashcan used to transport the items, Hogan said. He said Walston had a watch belonging to one of the victims in his pocket, and police also found two pair of latex gloves with the stolen materials.
“When law-abiding citizens walk in on a burglary, it is extremely dangerous,” Hogan said. “The criminals could resort to violence, as they did here. The citizens could kill the intruders. We were fortunate in this case that the victims escaped unharmed and law enforcement quickly captured these two criminals.”
According to the criminal complaint, Granger told a detective that he and Walston walked along General Weedon Drive Tuesday afternoon because “Walston wanted to break into a house to steal property” that could be sold for cash. Walston “settled on” the victims’ home because “there were no vehicles parked in the driveway,” the complaint said.
The complaint said the pair “rummaged through the residence,” put items such as two .357 Magnum pistols, a flat-screen TV, binoculars and two laptops into a trash can and wheeled it back to Granger’s home, placing the stolen items in the basement. Then the two teens returned to the victims’ property, each armed with one of the stolen guns, to steal more. After the teens had taken root beer soda and some other items, two residents of the home returned, the complaint said.
Granger, who lists himself as a 2013 graduate of Unionville High on his Facebook page, said he observed Walston cover his face with a white handkerchief and physically accost one of the women, pointing a gun at her, the complaint said. Granger, who had put a red bandana on his face, told the detective “that he could not be certain, but he indicated he may have drawn the firearm from his pocket, and possibly pointed it at the victims,” the complaint said.
Both defendants have been charged with robbery, burglary, conspiracy and related offenses, Hogan said. They were taken to Chester County Prison after failing to post $75,000 cash bail, he said.
“The citizens of Chester County have a right to be safe and secure in their homes,” said Hogan. “The police did an excellent job taking these two thugs off the streets. We will not permit this type of conduct in Chester County.”