Woman traps burglars' getaway car in driveway

Thieves ram woman's SUV before running away


SANFORD, Fla. – Dawn Nelson's home was burglarized last year, but the thieves were never caught. So when she returned home recently to find two men stealing from her house again, the Sanford woman was determined to stop them.

Less than a minute before driving up to her house, Nelson's family received a phone call from their home security company telling them an intruder alarm was going off. As Nelson approached, she noticed a strange car parked in her carport. She then saw the thieves loading a TV and an XBox video game system into the back seat.

"I said, 'Oh no! You're not going to do it this time.' So I pulled in, blocked them in. They were petrified," said Nelson.

At first, the burglars tried to escape by ramming Nelson's SUV with their car.

"There was impact. My head went back really fast and hit the back of the seat," said Nelson's teenage daughter Kari.

When the thieves realized their car was trapped, they jumped out and began running away on foot. Soon, Nelson was chasing after them.

"I honestly had absolutely no fear because I was so angry," said Nelson. "I was so mad. Believe me, they would have been hurting if I had caught up with them."

The burglars got away, but they left behind their getaway car and the items they tried to steal. Using the license plate, Sanford police were able to identify the car's owner. It belonged to the mother of one of the burglary suspects, according to Nelson. That 17-year-old and his friend, Alfred Willingham, were later arrested after Nelson identified Willingham in a photo lineup.

At the time of the burglary, Willingham, 20, was out of jail on bond, awaiting trial for drug possession and dealing in stolen property.