Middleborough teen armed with kitchen knives chases off, helps identify burglar

MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. — A Middleborough teen who woke up to a break-in at her home Friday morning armed herself with two kitchen knives and chased away a burglar who police say is a career criminal.

Avery Cormier, 14, who was home from school on the first day of spring vacation, heard noises in her Spruce Street home after the man broke in through a first-floor window and began stealing items, apparently unaware anyone was home.

Avery ran downstairs, grabbed the steak knives and confronted the burglar, who dropped his stolen items, police and the teen’s mother, Dianne Tautkus, said.

“[She] started screaming at him: ‘Get the ‘F’ out of my house! You don’t belong here. This is my house,’” Tautkus told Boston 25 News. “He turned around and looked at her, and Avery said he looked so shocked and scared, like, ‘What?’ Here’s this kid there with two knives. And he kind of slinked away.”

Quick-thinking Avery watched the burglar flee and pulled out her cell phone, recording the pick-up truck back out of the driveway.

She then made an emotional 911 call, telling dispatchers what had happened and providing the information she had on the burglar.

“Someone just tried to break into my house. I’m all alone,” she said on the call. “I got around the house, and I scared him. I took a video of his truck leaving, so I have his license plate number.”

Middleborough police issued a Be On the Look-out (BOLO) advisory, and, before long, state troopers tracked down and arrested Joseph Ridge, 58, of Bourne, as he was crossing the Bourne Bridge, Middleborough Police Chief Joseph Perkins said.

Ridge was arraigned in Wareham District Court Friday afternoon on charges of aggravated breaking and entering during the daytime, trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Police say Ridge was out on bail at the time of Friday’s arrest and has 140 prior arraignments, including violent offenses, dating back to 1980.

Perkins commended Avery on her quick and brave actions.

“I’m very impressed with her ability to do what she did in that stressful situation,” Perkins said. “The fact that she turned her video camera on and captured him leaving, that broke the case. I don’t know if we would’ve been able to identify the individual any other way.”

Ridge’s defense attorney told the judge Ridge had no plans to harm anyone and asked for $2,500 bail. Prosecutors asked for $100,000. The judge set Ridge’s bail at $200,000.

Tautkus, who was at work during the break-in, said her daughter was defending herself, her home and her 12-year-old sister who slept through the entire ordeal.

“She’s an incredible kid,” Tautkus said. “I don’t know of too many people, grown-ups or 14-year-olds that would defend the house like that.”

You can listen to the 911 call between the teen and the dispatcher below:

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