Muncie woman detains intruder hiding behind Christmas tree with BB gun, police say

Police: Man found with stolen items

MUNCIE, Ind. - A Muncie woman who awoke to find an intruder hiding behind her Christmas tree was able to hold the man with a BB gun until police responded.

Rhonda Coleman told officers she heard a crashing sound in her home around 3 a.m. Wednesday, and found a man hiding in the living room.

"He didn't move. He didn't leave. He stayed where he was," Coleman said.

Coleman called out to the man, who she thought might have been her son who lives next door. But when the man spoke back, the voice was not familiar.

So Coleman armed herself with a BB gun and pointed it at the intruder.

"He immediately saw it, and his reaction was taken aback a little bit, shoulders raised," she said. "And he was like, 'You have a gun,' and I was like, 'Yeah, I have a gun.'"

Armed with the BB gun, Coleman grabbed the man and led him at gunpoint to her son's house.

"We made it to my son's house and for what seemed like forever, I was banging on my son's door trying to hold (the intruder)," she said. "He was struggling to get away."

Her son came to the door and called police.

The intruder was identified as Thomas Charles Miller, 32, of Muncie, and he was arrested on a preliminary charge of burglary.

Two bags of stolen items were found outside Coleman's home, and Miller was found to be carrying her iPod, necklace and keys, police said. Coleman said Miller also used her phone while she was sleeping.

Coleman said when she returned from work that same night, she realized one of her knives was on a table right by the Christmas tree Miller was trying to hide behind.

"Obviously, God was smiling on us that day, and he saw us through," Coleman said.

Miller had been arrested in May after police said he broke into a house and vehicles in Ball State University and then used stolen credit cards.

He pleaded guilty to a related count of fraud in September, and was sentenced to time already served in jail.

Since 2007, Miller has also been convicted of burglary, receiving stolen property, domestic battery and possession of marijuana.

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