Warrior, Alabama is a small community of about 3,100 people that straddles two counties about 12 miles north of Birmingham. Named for the nearby Warrior coal fields, the town is generally a quiet family friendly place.
Last Friday, two men and woman broke into a home in Warrior and were caught on surveillance video removing the family’s television and wrapped Christmas presents. Chris Wyatt and his wife watched the video and got a good look at the burglars and their truck.
On Sunday, Wyatt recognized two of the burglars as they drove past his house. Armed with their handguns, he and several other relatives got in their vehicles and followed the burglars down the road. Eventually they managed to block the burglars’ path and box them in. The family drew their guns and held the burglars at gunpoint until police arrived on the scene.
Chris Wyatt told the local media:
“They happened to drive by and we (saw) them drive by and we knew it was them and we stopped them.”
It turns out that burglars, Eric Paul Stillwell, 38, Natosha Derrick, 29 and Elizabeth Frost, 28 had also committed a burglary on Sunday just prior to being stopped by the Wyatt family. The three criminals have been charged with third degree burglary and second degree theft for the Sunday robbery and police are investigating the possibility of filing charges against them for burglarizing the Wyatt home.
Sarah Wyatt, Chris’s wife, is hoping that police will recover their stolen items, especially the Christmas presents. She told the media:
“Sure hope so, if they don’t at least we’re all safe and in one piece and they are off the street for now.”
From the report, it sounds like the burglars are career criminals and thanks to the vigilance of Chris Wyatt, they are off the streets and other families will be spared the heartbreak of losing their Christmas. Two things made the arrest possible: capturing the burglars on video surveillance and being armed.
I applaud the Wyatt family for jumping into action and doing what they had to in order to stop these criminals from victimizing anyone else. I also applaud Alabama for not passing restrictive anti-gun laws that would have made it impossible for the family to detain the burglars until the police arrive.
Imagine if this had happened in a state like Maryland. The Wyatts would have had to go to their gun safe, unlock it, then load their guns and then try to chase the criminals, who by that time would have driven out of sight. If the Maryland Wyatts did manage to stop the burglars, they would have been arrested for using their guns outside their home and probably for illegal transportation of their guns.
What’s a Maryland family supposed to do if someone breaks into their home? Ask them to wait there while they get their gun out of the safe and load it? This is proof that gun control laws do nothing to protect gun owners, but they do a lot to protect criminals.
All I have to say is that if anyone breaks into my house, I hope they have their will made out first.