Victim of wild break-in describes burglary, son defending mother
"As he was leaving, he said 'You're messing with my head, I'm going to kill you,' to my wife," said Buddy Cuczewski, who owns the home but was gone at the time.
This was the threat the victims say Mack Stokes made after he allegedly broke into their home Wednesday morning.
The break-in culminated with Cuczewski's son firing into Stokes' car as he drove away.
According to police, the 43-year-old Stokes broke a window and entered the home on Old State Road 15 in Leesburg around 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Cuczewski's wife heard the glass shatter and went to check out the noise. That's when she came face-to-face with Stokes and confronted him. When she did, he threatened her and began heading towards his car. The victim then ran and woke her adult son, who had a firearm.
Stokes was walking back to the home with a claw hammer, say police, when the son made his way outside.
"The man saw him with the gun, ran out to the car, and my son fired his warning shot into the air," said Cuczewski.
Then, Stokes made a desperate last attempt.
"He went across the grass over there, where my son was standing, and tried to run him over," said Cuczewski. "And at that time, my son fired and broke out his back windshield, which was a great identifying feature for the police to apprehend him."
Cuczewski's wife called 911 while her son was outside, and police were able to put out a call for the vehicle. About 12 minutes later, they pulled Stokes over.
"Officer Jim Smith from our department was able to locate what he believed was the suspect vehicle just north approximately 2 miles of Leesburg and initiated a traffic stop," said 1st Sergeant Chad Hill of the Kosciusko County Police Department. "It was the individual, Mr. Stokes."
Stokes was cooperative with police, but his behavior throughout the day was strange.
"He wasn't talking sense, didn't say coherent sentences, didn't act rational," said Cuczewski. "[Stokes] talked to himself [and] waved his arms while he was walking."
"He had a different type of demeanor," said Sergeant Hill. "He continued to pray for all the officers involved with the incident, and the whole situation."
Stokes, who is from Warsaw, is being held for burglary on $6,000 bond and is preliminarily charged with a felony burglary; however, auto theft may be added because police say he didn't have permission to use the car that he was caught in.
A Warsaw man is facing charges in a home break-in that police say ended with the homeowner's son shooting the car he was driving.
According to police, 43-year-old Mack Stokes broke a window and climbed into the home on Old State Road 15 in Leesburg around 10 Wednesday morning.
The homeowner heard the glass shatter and went to check it out. When she saw that a man had broken in she got her son.
Stokes went to his car and was walking back to the home with a claw hammer, say police, when the homeowner's son confronted him with a gun. Stokes ran back to his car and allegedly tried to run over the homeowner's son as he tried to escape. That's when the son shot into the car Stokes was driving.
Police arrested Stokes about 12 minutes later. He is being held for burglary on $6,000 bond. Police say the prosecutor's office may bring additional charges.
Here is the full release from the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Department:
Kosciusko County Officers apprehended a burglary suspect Wednesday morning, just north of Leesburg, within 12 minutes of the crime. Kosciusko County Sheriff's Department Deputies were advised of a burglary in progress Wednesday morning at approximately 10:18 a.m., along with a suspect that was fleeing the residence 6008 North, Old State Road 15, Leesburg. As officers from several area departments began to converge onto the area, Kosciusko County Sheriff's Deputy Jim Smith located a vehicle matching the 9-1-1 description, traveling northbound from Leesburg on Old State Road 15.
Deputy Smith initiated a traffic stop with the green colored Mercury Sable and took the suspect, Mack Samuel Stokes, 43, Warsaw, into custody without incident.
K.C.S.D. deputies and detectives determined during the initial investigation that the owner of the residence had originally been startled by a sound located in the rear of her house. The female homeowner confronted Stokes inside the residence and discovered he had broken out a window to gain entry. She immediately retrieved her son, who also subsequently confronted Stokes as he was walking back to the house from his vehicle, wielding a claw hammer. The victim's son had obtained his personal .45 caliber handgun at which point Stokes returned to his vehicle and began to flee the property. Stokes purportedly attempted to run-over the male victim in the driveway, at which point he then discharged his firearm into the Mercury Sable.
Stokes was arrested and preliminarily charged with felony burglary of a dwelling. It was later determined that Stokes did not have permission from the actual owner to be in possession the vehicle used in the commission of the burglary. He is currently being held on a $6,000 bond and my face additional charges according to the Kosciusko County Prosecutor's Office. The Kosciusko County Sheriff's Department was assisted in the investigation by the Milford Police Department and the Kosciusko County Prosecutor's Office.
The Kosciusko County Prosecutor's Office advises that the defendant's charge is merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
WSBT Reporter Zach Crenshaw will have the latest tonight on WSBT News at 5.