Neighbor stops home burglary in Lehigh Acres

Posted at 10:29 PM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-01 07:09:40-05

A neighbor's quick phone call to 911 may have stopped a burglar from getting away with breaking into a woman's home and taking off with her possessions.

James Gonzales, 20, is facing burglary, grand theft, and property damage charges after Lee County deputies say he broke into a woman's home in Lehigh Acres and tried to get away with her belongings.

Gonzales lives a half-a-mile away from where the break-in took place.

Just before 7 PM on Monday, it was still light outside when a woman said she heard loud banging noises coming from her neighbor's home.

"I see this man -- he had his face covered with something -- punching the window over and over again. So I yelled out to him, and he didn't really respond and just kept hitting the window," the neighbor said.

She called 911.

The homeowner said she has an alarm system, but it was her neighbor's quick phone call that led deputies to her house. The homeowner said Gonzales tried using a rock from her garden to break into her front door first. Pieces of wood and scratches on the door were left behind. When he couldn't get in through the front door, he went around back and broke in through a window.

Gonzales was found with perfume and cologne bottles, and a woman's bracelet, but the homeowner said if it wasn't for the quick action of her neighbor, he may have gotten away with more.

"I've never actually spoken to them, so that kind of made me feel really good that there were people actually looking out," the homeowner said. "Most people usually don't call. You go around and go 'Hey, did you hear anything?' "Oh yeah, yeah, I actually did hear something.' But she actually called."

"I always have an eye out, an ear out, and if someone looks out of place, I keep an eye out. And I would hope they in turn would do that same thing for me," the neighbor said.

As of Tuesday night, Gonzales was still behind bars. Four in Your Corner's Lisa Greenberg stopped by his home. His stepfather answered the door and said he does not have a comment.