HOWLAND - A 13-year-old girl awoke Thursday to the sounds of a Warren man breaking into her home. She barricaded herself in a closet and stayed on the phone with police until officers chased the burglar from the house.
Officers arrested Gary Dowden, 34, of 252 Rio Drive, at gunpoint from the nearby Walgreens store parking lot. He was charged with aggravated burglary and held without bond in the Trumbull County Jail. He likely will be arraigned today in Warren Municipal Court.
Howland Police Chief Paul Monroe said police received a call at about 9:20 a.m. from the girl who said she heard glass breaking and thought someone was inside the home at 2502 N. River Road N.E.
The girl, whose voice quivered while talking to the 911 dispatcher, said she was sleeping on the first floor of the home and had been alone about two hours when she heard the noise. She ran upstairs to a closet, where she hid and stayed on the phone with the dispatcher until police apprehended Dowden, police said.
Officers arrived at the house two minutes after the call, Monroe said. The first officers went inside the home and confronted Dowden, who ran out the front door.
Monroe said Dowden was apprehended at gunpoint by the officer and several others in the parking lot of Walgreens pharmacy on North River and Elm roads. Officers found he possessed jewelry stolen from the girl's home, Monroe said.
Dowden used a crowbar to smash the window, and he cut his hands while climbing into the home, Monroe said. He was treated at an area hospital before he was booked into Trumbull County Jail.
Dowden was unarmed, Monroe said.
"The officers had good response timing and did an excellent job," Monroe said. "They didn't hesitate to go into the house and gave chase when he fled."
Dowden, according to a records search, was convicted of felony grand theft in 2010 and sentenced to six months in jail.
Reports said Dowden and three other men forged a payment receipt when they tried to sell scrap metal to Metalico Youngstown, Inc. in Warren. They changed the receipt from 329 pounds to 2,329, which garnered them a fraudulent $6,295, reports said.
He was also convicted of drug abuse in 2008.