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When He Saw Burglar, Decatur Man 'Went Ape Mode'

The Oakhurst resident grappled with an intruder he discovered in the living room.

David Kennerly said he's not an aggressive guy.

But when he woke up in the middle of the night Dec. 3 and found a burglar in the living room stealing the flat-screen television, "I flipped out," Kennerly said. "I went ape mode."

The 40-year-old Turner employee, wearing only pajama bottoms, did exactly what law enforcement officers don't recommend. He confronted the man, screeching and grabbing him by the shoulders.

"He was a little bigger than me and in good shape," Kennerly said. "The only thing he said was shut up. He hit me with the TV."

Kennerly said he may have gone down, but he's not sure because everything happened so fast. The man ran down the hallway to the front door.

"I ran after him and threw him off the front porch," Kennerly said. He said the man slowly got off the ground, put the television into a white van parked in the driveway and drove down Adams Street.

"Once he was out of the house I was able to think rationally again," Kennerly said.

The excitement started when Kennerly's wife, Nadine, heard the sound of splintering wood in the downstairs part. She thought the Christmas tree had fallen over, but it was really the burglar kicking in the front door.

She telephoned 911 when the ruckus started. The kids slept through the excitement.

The suspect was described as a black male 25-30 years old, about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. He had a dark complexion, short hair and wore a red plaid coat. The white van he drove may have been a DeKalb County government vehicle that was stolen that same day.

Kennerly can't explain why he acted out of character.

"I know that rationally what I did was not wise," he said. "It was a zero to 60 kind of thing."

The adrenalin kept Kennerly awake about a day and a half. His leg was bruised and fingers scraped.

"I'm really thankful I didn't get hurt more," he said, "and that he guy wasn't hurt more."

Have you ever encountered a burglar in your house? How did you react? Tell us in the comments box below.

Warnin ToU December 15, 2012 at 06:52 PM
You can buy a shotgun for under $200 and no burgler on earth will argue with one and win. The police have investigators who's job it is to determine what happened AFTER you have been ripped off, raped, or shot. The police do not have preventers to keep this from happening to you. YOU are responsible for you own defense! Don't be an idiot - plan to defend yourself and your family. You could be the only think standing between them and tragedy!
john penn December 16, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Amen to the above comment.
Tom Meyer December 17, 2012 at 03:37 PM
kill someone over a TV? I am considering acquiring a gun, a pump action shotgun... and the first thing I would do in this instance would be rack a shell into the chamber (a very familiar sound to any American who watches movies or TV), and then (if the perp wasn't already evacuating the premises and his bowels) blow a hole in the floor/wall. Hopefully, this would be sufficient deterrent and cause anyone with the slightest sense of self preservation to leave the house immediately. Even if they managed to hang onto the TV.. I'd be glad. If all I lost was a TV and had a hole in my floor. I'd be glad. "Stuff" just isn't that valuable to me. Especially a TV. They are cheap. And my house would probably be marked as too risky for a return visit.
Laura Martin December 17, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I may not kill someone for breaking in the house, but I too would auto-shift to ape mode and proceed to beat the thief repeatedly and brutally until the police arrive. Adrenaline is a wonderful thing.
Byron Warner December 18, 2012 at 10:12 PM
I wouldn't take a life for stealing a TV. I would kill someone in my house stealing from me, for my family's protection. If they will enter your house to steal, they will quite probably be willing to kill you.

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