Neighbor stops suspected Lakeland burglars while homeowner is at work

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – With a north Lakeland homeowner at work, a pair of thieves bashed in her front door and started stealing stuff.

“They pretty much looked like they kicked that door right there,” said the homeowner, who asked that News Channel 8 not identify her. “They took the Christmas presents that I had for my grandchildren and for my son.”

The accused burglars, Antonio Thomas and James Davis, didn’t count on an elderly neighbor, who lives right across the street. “He’s my hero, and he did and he yelled. He screamed across the way and he walked as fast as he could to the gate and ya know, chased em away,” the homeowner said.

That neighbor called 911. Nearby Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies spotted their car, a maroon Pontiac, and tried to get it to stop. Thomas and Davis bailed out a few miles away, in Lakeland Police Department jurisdiction, officials said.

LPD officers joined the chase, but lost sight of the suspects. A sheriff’s chopper searched overhead.

A nearby neighbor spotted them.

Lakeland officers and Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies, including K-9 officers, raced to a driveway, where they found the suspects hiding behind a car.

Thomas, an ex-con who served two stints in state prison, and Davis, also with prior arrests, didn’t notice their every move was being watched. “They’ll spend Christmas probably in jail, and I hope that the good lord will bless them. I forgive them. And I hope that they’ll find Jesus,” the homeowner said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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