Teen 'invaders' make themselves at home

MONROEVILLE Home invasions are scary business. Scarier still are home invasions when
Cory Frolik
May 24, 2010

MONROEVILLE

Home invasions are scary business.

Scarier still are home invasions when the criminals not only enter a stranger's residence -- they kick off their shoes and make themselves at home.

Two Monroeville teenagers -- James L. Harmon, 19, and his 17-year-old friend -- broke into a home on Horseshoe Drive in Monroeville on Saturday evening and spent the night, police said.

Harmon and his friend guzzled beer, stubbed out cigarettes on the carpet and rifled through the homeowner's belongings, said Monroeville police Chief Mike Ruggles.

"It was an existing house that people were in the process of moving into, and they had just walked out for the night," Ruggles said.

The pair of teens allegedly started out their night by walking into a garage located on Hamilton Street and helping themselves to some beer in the fridge. Harmon had done this before and this time he pinched a dozen beers, a police report states.

Shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday, the two young men walked to Horseshoe Drive where they looked through the window of an empty home, the report said. Not seeing any signs of activity, the two boys are accused of barging through the unlocked front door and getting comfortable.

"They went through the things that were already there ... Rooted through some uniforms and they made a mess, really," Ruggles said.

After downing the beers, the 17-year-old passed out and the pair were not roused until about 5:15 a.m. Sunday when they headed out for cigarettes, the police report states.

The pair was stopped and interviewed by police officers familiar with Harmon's record. When he was a juvenile, they said, Harmon broke into Cold As Ice to steal beer and cigarettes.

When this crime came to light, authorities said it fit his M.O.

The homeowners have small children and were relieved to find out the culprits were caught right away, Ruggles said. The 17-year-old allegedly confessed to the crimes.

Harmon was arrested on two counts of breaking and entering. His friend is expected to face identical charges.

Ruggles said he's just glad the homeowners never came into contact with the intruders.

"If somebody comes home and catches a person there, it can become a physical confrontation and somebody can get hurt," he said.