Middletown homeowner catches suspected burglar in the act

Posted at 11:35 PM, Jul 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-06 07:29:01-04

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Monday afternoon took an unlucky turn for a suspected burglar caught inside a stranger's home.

Joe Lapine, the homeowner, said he came home from the gym Monday and noticed two things as soon as he stepped in the door: his flatscreen TV was gone, and there was a stranger leaving his bedroom.

“The first thing I said was, ‘I gotta get this guy down,” Lapine said. 

According to Lapine, he tackled 20-year-old Zackery Harper to the ground, punched him and threw him against the fence outside his home. 

“I dragged him into headlock to my next-door neighbor and knocked on the door and said, ‘Call the police while I hold this guy down,’” said Lapine.

The neighbor called, and Lapine kept Harper in the kitchen until the police arrived.

Harper was taken into police custody and charged with burglary. According to the police report, Harper said he was with a woman who took the stolen items — the TV and a duffel bag full of clothes — from Lapine’s home while Harper stayed behind.

Police later recovered both of the stolen items from Harper's home. When police told his brother and roommate that there might be stolen property inside the house, the pair let them inside, where they found the bag and TV.

Lapine said Harper’s brother came to his home Tuesday to apologize for the incident and return something the police left behind: the TV's remote control.