COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Two teenagers are being heralded as heroes after they helped prevent the burglary of an elderly neighbor’s home.
The boys, aged 14 and 15 and freshmen at Walnut Ridge High School, were honored at a surprise event by the Columbus Division of Police and Starfish Assignment, a non-profit organization that works with law enforcement to help those in need in the community.
Columbus police said the boys were riding their bikes on Sept. 5 in the city’s east side when they noticed a man attempting to enter the home of an 80-year-old man. The teens, Aaromn Hunt and Desmar Woods, said the man acting suspicious, hopping over fences into people’s years and that they started hearing a lot of noise from those yards.
The teens eventually saw the suspect trying to get into one of the houses through a window. That’s when police said the boys made the man aware of their presence and used their bikes to keep the suspect from going anywhere. With the help of a neighbor, Hunt and Woods made sure the suspect couldn’t leave.
“He was trying to run from us, he was trying to run from us, so we were just talking to each other about what we were going to do,” Woods said. “He told me to go that way and he went that way and then we blocked him in.”
The boys also gave enough information to detectives the police were able to file charges against the suspect.
During Sunday’s surprise event, the boys received a VIP tour behind the scenes at the McKinley Avenue CPD complex, which included seeing the department’s mounted and SWAT units.
At the time of the incident, detectives noticed the boys’ bikes were not in the best shape, so with the help of a Starfish donor, the boys received new bikes, locks, and helmets Sunday.
When Woods and Hunt helped prevent the burglary, they didn’t expect to get anything for it.
“I didn’t even think this was going to happen,” Woods said. “I just like helping others.”
Columbus Police Burglary Detective James Francis said without the actions of the two boys, the suspect would have been able to get into the home and victimized the senior citizen.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing,” Francis said. “I think it’s a good example for other people, not only people their age but adults, to get involved in their community and when they do see something, let somebody know about what’s going on.”
Police added that they do not encourage people to get physically involved with suspects, adding that they are still extremely proud of the boys.
“We don’t actually encourage people to physically confront somebody, but to be a good witness,” Francis said. “They’re 14- and 15-year-old boys, they’re going to do what 14- and 15-year-old boys do and they were able to raise enough commotion to alert the other neighbors in the area and then we showed up.”