'Victims' turn out to be suspects in Garfield Heights purse napping

GARFIELD HTS., Ohio - NewsChannel5 arrived to a bizarre scene in Garfield Heights as police searched a home that appeared to be occupied. A person armed was believed to be hiding inside. Officers then pulled out a handcuffed teenager from the home and walked him through a possible path taken before.

The entire time, family of occupants in the home watched nervously from across the street. All they knew, they told us, was they received a phone call from a cousin inside the home who said they were "pent-up in the top floor." The family member described an armed home invasion.

That's what a Garfield Heights officer told NewsChannel5. Police originally responded to at a home near the corner of East 136th Street and Maplerow Avenue in Garfield Heights. A mother of five inside the home came out after police gave them clearance to do so and told NewsChannel5 of the frightening experience.

"All I know is I was in the house laying down. Five minutes later, I was getting kicks at my door. They were trying to come in with force. I just had my kids and called 911," said the mother of five. "It was scary, I don't even want to live here no more, I'm terrified."

But as police began to clear the scene, the story began to change: two "victims" in the home turned out to be suspects in what began as a purse theft.

A Garfield Heights police officer told NewsChannel5 it began at a nearby shop. Two suspects were seen stealing a purse out of a vehicle, the officer told us.

The officer said the actual victims who witnessed the theft, chased the two suspects all the way to what was actually, a family member's own home.

Police said the suspects told those inside the house, they were being chased by someone armed, which caused panic inside the home amongst family members who believed some kind of attacker was trying to break in.

Garfield Heights police said they found the theft victims at the home and questioned them. After questioning occupants inside the home, police arrested two people from the house including an 18-year-old man.

Police said the stolen property was returned.

Thankfully, no one was injured.

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