A 14-year-old Massachusetts girl scared off a man who allegedly broke into her home Friday morning — and her quick thinking later helped police apprehend the suspect, according to the Middleborough Police Department. Her mother told CBS Boston the girl armed herself with two steak knives before yelling for the intruder to leave.
Police said the girl, identified as Avery Cormier by CBS Boston, woke up at approximately 7:20 am to the sound of someone in her home. She then “bravely confronted” the man, later identified as 58-year-old Joseph Ridge, causing him to flee — and as he was getting away, she took a video of the car he drove that included his license plate number.
“I got him out of the house. I scared him,” the girl told a 911 dispatcher in audio released by police. “I took a video of his truck leaving so I have his license plate number.”
Cormier’s mother, Dianne Tautkus, told CBS Boston that her daughter scared Ridge away while wielding two steak knives. Police confirmed at a press conference Saturday afternoon that she told them she had grabbed a knife before confronting the intruder.
“I really didn’t realize that she had it in her to stay so calm under fire,” Tautkus said. “Grabbed two kitchen steak knives and she went back and stood outside the door and started screaming at him ‘Get out of my house. Get out of my house. You don’t belong here.'”
Ridge was apprehended soon after, and charged with aggravated breaking and entering during the daytime, trespassing and disorderly conduct, police said. The department said Ridge was “well-known” to police and had been out on bail for an “unrelated incident.”
Police said Ridge had been arranged more than 130 times prior to Friday’s arrest and has a “history of violence.” They also said he had no specific connection to the family.
“I would like to commend the courageous actions of this girl. Even in the midst of an extremely scary event, her bravery assisted us in identifying the man believed to be responsible for breaking into her home,” said Middleborough Police Chief Joseph Perkins. Perkins said she was an honor roll student who was home for the day because it was Good Friday, according to CBS Boston.
At a Friday arrangement, a judge set Ridge’s bail at $200,000, CBS Boston reported. If Ridge does post bail, he would be required to be on house judgment with a GPS monitor.
“The suspect in this case is a career criminal who was arrested after terrorizing a 14-year-old girl in her own home,” Perkins added. “Hopefully his judgment this time will bring this known felon to account for his crimes.”