Couple: Burglar cried, called mom, then gave up after cops came - KMSP-TV

Detroit couple: Burglar cried, called mom, then gave up after cops came

Posted: Updated:

By Amy Lange
Fox 2 News


DETROIT (WJBK) -- An elderly couple was ambushed and held captive in their own home.  The suspect had a short standoff with Detroit Police.  They described for us a terrifying incident.

Mary Johnson Lawrence is a spry 87 years old married to her 85-year-old husband Charlie for 20 years.

Wednesday night, she honked her horn as she pulled into her driveway on Mendota as she always does to let Charlie know she's home from church.  He greeted her at the door as he always does, but she wasn't alone.

"I opened the door for her and she came in and he was right behind her," said Charlie Lawrence.  "(He) said, 'Get on the floor.  Get on the floor.'  (He) made her get on the floor."

The man wore a mask, said someone had sent him from the east side, waved a .357 Magnum in the air and asked their names.  They told him.  He led them down the stairs and wanted their ATM cards, but they don't have any.

Leaving Charlie in the basement, the gunman forced Mary up the stairs into her room where he wanted her jewelry.

"He took my pillowcase off the pillow and put the jewelry in there, and he asked me, 'Do you have any more?'  I said no," Mary Lawrence explained.

He dumped all the dresser drawers out just to make sure.  Back downstairs, he realized police were outside.  Turns out the neighbor across the street had been taking out his trash, saw the gunman run up on Mary and called 911.  Police knocked on the door.

"He said, 'Don't say anything, don't say anything and just keep your head down,'"  said Mary Lawrence.  "He said, 'Go tell them everything's all right in here.'  He said, 'Know that I'm here and I'll shoot you.'"

"'I'll shoot you in the head,' he said."

So she went to the door, said she was okay, but shook her head.  She wasn't.

The gunman went upstairs, removed the air conditioner, said he was going out the window, but saw the police were everywhere.  That's when the gunman realized he was done, removed his mask, helped Charlie up the basement stairs and then the gunman called his mother.

"(Mary) was on the phone with his mother," said Charlie Lawrence.

"She wanted to talk to me, said what could I do for her son," his wife explained.

"He started crying," her husband added.

He cried and cried, told Mary he was going away for life and asked for her forgiveness.

"We were sitting there talking and he said, 'I'm so sorry.  Can you forgive me?'  And that's when I told him, I said, 'As a Christian, I have to forgive you.  But, you know, it's a terrible thing you're doing.'"

Mary told him to turn himself in, which eventually he did.  After close to three hours she and Charlie were free.  Mary's blood pressure was through the roof, but they were okay thanks to an alert neighbor, who doesn't want accolades.  He just did the right thing.

"When you see something happen you call because just one telephone call doesn't hurt anyone," said Mary Lawrence.  "It saved our lives."

Police found the gun hidden under the skirt of a doll in Mary's dining room.

  • Amy LangeMore from Amy LangeMore>>

  • Three arrested after military reservist killed during carjacking

    Three arrested after military reservist killed during carjacking

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:01 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:01:39 GMT
    A third suspect is under arrest in the carjacking and murder of a young man outside the Superland Market at Schoolcraft Road and Rutland Street Monday night.
    A third suspect is under arrest in the carjacking and murder of a young man outside the Superland Market at Schoolcraft Road and Rutland Street Monday night.
  • Fire from lightning strike devastates Roseville church

    Fire from lightning strike devastates Roseville church

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:10 PM EDT2014-07-29 16:10:35 GMT
    A raging fire happens in Roseville and of all places to be struck by lightning - the steeple of the New Life Church of God in Christ.Pastor Darrell Moore and his family are devastated."I got here and I found out I really didn't have a church anymore, " he said. Moore was attending a Sunday evening service at another church, when a member of new life called him repeatedly. When he finally answered, it was bad news."The fire department was here, there was water everywhere," said Mary Moore, mot...
    A raging fire happens in Roseville and of all places to be struck by lightning - the steeple of the New Life Church of God in Christ.Pastor Darrell Moore and his family are devastated."I got here and I found out I really didn't have a church anymore, " he said. Moore was attending a Sunday evening service at another church, when a member of new life called him repeatedly. When he finally answered, it was bad news."The fire department was here, there was water everywhere," said Mary Moore, mot...
  • Charges to be determined after teen dies in car crash

    Charges to be determined after teen dies in car crash

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:59 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:59:07 GMT
    Seven teenagers were on their way back from a bonfire late Friday night. A 16-year-old girl was behind the wheel of the Ford Expedition with her mom also in the car.
    Seven teenagers were on their way back from a bonfire late Friday night. A 16-year-old girl was behind the wheel of the Ford Expedition with her mom also in the car.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Detroit soccer team to compete for homeless world cup in New York

    Detroit soccer team to compete for homeless world cup in New York

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-07-30 01:03:06 GMT
    "Soccer's real popular right now, people are playing that have never played before," said Reginald Ikard. "It's a blessing, we're going to represent and try to win." Ikard is talking about his soccer team going to New York, representing Detroit with his teammates, all of whom used to be homeless.Sheilah Clay is president and CEO of the Neighborhood Service Organization."They didn't know anything about this, so it was an overwhelming thought of 'you want us to compete as a team and play in New...
    "Soccer's real popular right now, people are playing that have never played before," said Reginald Ikard. "It's a blessing, we're going to represent and try to win." Ikard is talking about his soccer team going to New York, representing Detroit with his teammates, all of whom used to be homeless.Sheilah Clay is president and CEO of the Neighborhood Service Organization."They didn't know anything about this, so it was an overwhelming thought of 'you want us to compete as a team and play in New...
  • Duggan bringing big changes to Detroit water department, starting with shutoffs

    Duggan bringing big changes to Detroit water department, starting with shutoffs

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 8:51 PM EDT2014-07-30 00:51:24 GMT
    Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is promising big changes at the water department, starting with the controversial shutoffs."Certainly it has hurt the reputation of the city," Duggan said. "I have been anxious to do something about it for awhile and I am just glad I have a chance to do it,"Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr handed over the water department to the mayor and City Council TuesdayDuggan says better publicizing assitance programs is the biggest priority."I still don't think the people in need h...
    Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is promising big changes at the water department, starting with the controversial shutoffs."Certainly it has hurt the reputation of the city," Duggan said. "I have been anxious to do something about it for awhile and I am just glad I have a chance to do it,"Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr handed over the water department to the mayor and City Council TuesdayDuggan says better publicizing assitance programs is the biggest priority."I still don't think the people in need h...
  • Construction worker rescued from massive trench collapse

    Construction worker rescued from massive trench collapse

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 8:49 PM EDT2014-07-30 00:49:25 GMT
    Construction workers endured some terrifying minutes in a trench they were working at in West Bloomfield Tuesday afternoon."He was completely buried for upwards of three minutes," said Fire Chief Jay Wiseman.Employees of Daniel White Excavating were laying pipe in a trench -- about 100 feet long and 10 feet deep -- when suddenly , the dirt walls began collapsing on a 39-year-old co-worker and covered him."He actually started moving away from it, and an identical collapse occurred just in fron...
    Construction workers endured some terrifying minutes in a trench they were working at in West Bloomfield Tuesday afternoon."He was completely buried for upwards of three minutes," said Fire Chief Jay Wiseman.Employees of Daniel White Excavating were laying pipe in a trench -- about 100 feet long and 10 feet deep -- when suddenly , the dirt walls began collapsing on a 39-year-old co-worker and covered him."He actually started moving away from it, and an identical collapse occurred just in fron...
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices