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January 17, 2013

Man holds alleged thief at gunpoint in Jeffersonville

No injuries reported in thwarted break-in

JEFFERSONVILLE — A Clarksville man was charged today for a string of crimes committed Tuesday, Jan. 15, that include an attempted break-in to an occupied home.

Brandon A. Barnett, 31, of 2832 Blackiston Mill Road, was charged with six felonies in Clark County Circuit Court No. 4 on Thursday. Presiding Judge Vicki Carmichael set a bond of $25,000 cash-only and entered not guilty pleas in each of charges on Barnett’s behalf.

Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull suggested the hefty bond, and Barnett’s attorney, Perry McCall, of Jeffersonville, offered no objection.

Barnett is charged with trying to force entry into a home in the 300 block of Reba Jackson Drive, near the intersection of Port and Middle roads, at about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. A woman was asleep in the home, described as a small structure in the backyard of a larger home, when Barnett and another man tried to break in, the Jeffersonville Police Department reported. Before the frightened woman called police from inside the home, she called a relative at a nearby house to come assist her.

The male relative came to the home and saw Barnett and an other man who was not identified trying to get into the home. The man used a firearm in an attempt to detain the two men and told them not to move.

The unknown man fled the yard by jumping a privacy fence, but Barnett followed armed homeowner’s commands.

When police arrived, about 4:42 a.m., they found the homeowner holding Barnett at gunpoint and Barnett lying in a prone position.

Officers reported that Barnett was found with a backpack that contained several screw drivers and wire cutters — items they reported are commonly used as burglary tools. Also in his possession was a case containing a multipurpose power tool.

Barnett admitted to police at the time that he had taken the power tool from outside a nearby residence, but could not provide the address.

Officers conducted a search of the surrounding area and discovered two vehicles parked on Reba Jackson Drive with broken windows that had been rummaged through.

After speaking with the vehicles’ owners, officer determined the power tool had been taken from one of the vehicles. Officers also found in the area a lawnmower, a weed trimmer and a leaf blower. Through their investigation, officers disovered that the items to have been taken from a shed in the backyard of a home also in the 300 block of Reba Jackson Drive.

Police searched the area for the man who fled before officers arrived, but he was not located.

McCall said he had not had enough time to review the case in full and declined comment after the proceeding.

Mull did provide some comment of what transpired the morning of the alleged crime.

“Clearly, this was an attempted residential burglary that due to the actions of this man was thwarted,” Mull said. “Luckily, the victim was safe and was not harmed.”

Mull said those who choose to commit such crimes are taking a chance at being harmed themselves.

“We live in a society now to where if you break into a house, you do that at your own risk. There are many armed homeowners now, and individuals who burglarize inhabited homes in the middle of night do so at their own peril. It is very dangerous crime to commit, and it is a recipe for something bad happening.”

All the stolen property was returned to its rightful owners, police reported.

During the hearing, Barnett was charged with three counts D felony criminal mischief, two counts D felony theft and attempted burglary, a class B felony.

A pretrial conference was scheduled for March 18.

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