Stacey Lawrence, 48, a resident of the 600 block of S. Curley St., knows.
Last Wednesday, July 16, Lawrence got that call, advised her alarm company to notify the police, rushed the short distance to her home, and met a police officer, who went around to the back of the house.
While Lawrence and her 24-year-old daughter waited on the front stoop, they heard the front door open, and a tall, heavyset man stepped out.
“Once he came out, we were both just dumbfounded,” Lawrence said.
According to a narrative of events that Lawrence posted to the Canton Neighbors page on Facebook, the man said, “How you doing?”
Lawrence, her daughter later told her, replied: “How you doing—where ya going?”
She then grabbed him by the shirt, and, she later told the Guide, “started punching him a lot.”
While it may seem like a raw and emotional reaction, there was a strategy behind it.
“I guess in my head I was thinking, ‘I need to stall this guy,’” said Lawrence, who is 5-foot-4, 125 pounds.
What happened next, via Facebook:
“He pulled away from me and started running down the street, I dropped my purse, kicked off my flip flops and proceeded to chase him thru alleys for a few blocks.”
Lawrence told the Guide that she actually gave her purse to her daughter, who went to the rear of the house to inform the police officer that the suspect was running away.
“He jumped in and drove off [in pursuit],” said Lawrence.
She said that she chased the man up the alley street between Linwood Ave. and Curley St. One of the items taken from Lawrence’s home, she said, was prescription medication.
“He was actually eating pills as he ran down the alley,” she said.
At the end of the alley, the man turned around and for the first time noticed Lawrence chasing him.
She said that he saw her and said, “Oh come on,” just before he turned the corner.
Not sure if his words were a taunt or an expression of frustration, Lawrence hesitated at that point. When she took the corner—wide, so she couldn’t be taken by surprise—he was gone.
Next, Lawrence wrote, she “flagged down another officer who was responding around Fleet and Linwood, jumped in the car with him and within a few seconds heard over the radio ‘we got one in the park.’”
Police have confirmed that there was a burglary in the 600 block of S. Curley St. on Wednesday, July 16, at approximately 1:30 p.m. A suspect was taken into custody, and property belonging to the victim was found in the suspect’s possession.
Detective Jeremy Silbert of the Baltimore Police Public Information Office said that police arrested Ernest Hodges, 42, and charged him with “burglary and various related charges.”
For her part, Lawrence says that she didn’t pursue the suspect out of a desire for revenge.
“It was for my peace of mind,” she said, “so I don’t have to worry that he’s going to come back and get the rest of my stuff—it wasn’t from the standpoint of ‘I’m going to burn this guy.’”
Lawrence added that she will “follow it through till the end” and testify if need be.
Lawrence said that she has no ill will toward the suspect.
“I hope he goes to jail, does his time, gets clean, and has a better life,” she said. “It must be terrible to have that on your back all the time.”
She did have a chance to confront the suspect, who she said told her that he chose her house completely at random, and “hey, sometimes you get caught.”
Lawrence said that the police were “amazing.”
“They were on it,” she said. “It was literally a distance of one block from where I lost him and the police caught him.”
by Erik Zygmont