Homeowner catches burglar in garage

Published 9:50 am Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A 20-year-old Austin man was arrested Saturday after a homeowner saw him rummaging through her garage with a flashlight.

James John Mentz-Ball, of 1003 Eighth Ave. N.W., was charged Monday in Mower County court with three felony counts of burglary.

The 49-year-old homeowner called police at around 6:20 a.m. and said there was someone in her garage on the 900 block of Eighth Avenue Northwest.

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The woman had taken her dog out for a walk when she noticed a garage door open and a flashlight darting around inside. She also said an interior light was on in her vehicle, according to a criminal complaint.

Police arrived and set up a perimeter around the garage.

Officers then moved into the garage and found Mentz-Ball hiding under the car.

He refused to come out and show his hands, which led police to use a Taser.

Mentz-Ball still refused to leave his spot, so police sprayed him with a chemical irritant and eventually dragged him from under the car.

He was taken to jail, where he had his eyes flushed and was booked.

The complaint states that contents of the vehicle’s glove compartment were scattered on the floor but nothing was reported stolen.

A flashlight, which the homeowner said she had never seen before, was found by police on the front passenger seat.