Wyoming family catches burglar in the act

Posted at 4:49 PM, Jan 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-06 09:58:42-05

WYOMING, Mich. -- Home break-ins are fairly common, but rarely do criminals choose a house full of people.

The lights were on, cars were in the driveway and four of the five Rodriguez adults were home when Eric Jermaine Harvey broke in through the basement.

Eric Harvey

Eric Harvey

Recounting the events of Wednesday morning, Julie Rodriguez tells FOX 17, “It was really windy out that night, so I thought something was hitting the house."

The sound was significant enough to get her father, Rod Rodriguez, and her sister Jillian Rodriguez, looking out the house windows, ultimately deciding to check outside.

Jillian went one way, her dad the other. It was then that her dad ran into Harvey.

“When I came around the corner,  that’s when I saw the guy crawling out of the window," explains home owner Rod Rodriguez. "I said, 'hey, what are you doing?' and he said 'looking for my phone'.”

At that point, Jillian had come around to that side of the house, and being a mother she was filled with adrenaline and anger. Her sister Julie explains what Jillian did next.

“She just grabbed him and tried to hold him back and I’m like, 'no, Jillian, just let him go.' My dad was saying the same thing. But she looked like she wanted to fight him."

The exterior of the Rodriguez home

The exterior of the Rodriguez home

Talking about the encounter with Harvey, Jillian says, "He wasn’t really that aggressive. I wasn’t going to hold him back. I was going to throw him to the ground and possibly sit on him.”

After leaving a trail of blood, presumably from breaking the window, and his cell phone, the suspect, Eric Harvey didn't try to fight back. Jillian says, "I grabbed his shirt and he was just standing there. He tried to walk away, like walk back slowly and he didn’t say anything like 'let go' or 'don’t touch me'. Just nothing. It was weird.”

Jillian did let him go, but Wyoming police arrived quickly and, with the help of their K-9 unit, found Eric Harvey hiding in a nearby bush.

Harvey is being held at Kent County Jail on $50,000 bond. Because this is his 4th felony offense, he is facing life in prison.

FOX 17 did talk to Wyoming Police Captain Kim Koster over the phone Thursday afternoon and Koster said this type of break in with multiple people home and multiple cars in the driveway is unusual.