Two burglars, one of whom found himself staring the down the barrel of a shotgun, told lawmen they were just looking for a party with “dope and girls” when they were caught trying to break into a woman’s home.
The defendants, Jonathan E. Franzen and Eric Ridge, were both bound to the grand jury by General Sessions Judge Bill Locke following a preliminary hearing on charges of aggravated burglary.
Ridge was charged April 22 after he was caught outside the residence he was allegedly trying to burglarize.
“I awoke to a banging sound,” testified the resident who was terrified when she realized the banging sound was someone trying to force their way into her home. “I called my neighbor since I didn’t know how close they were to getting in.”
It was at that point her neighbor, a 20-year military veteran, grabbed his 12 gauge shotgun and a high-powered flashlight and went next door. He spotlighted him on his neighbor’s porch.
“I saw Mr. Ridge with a pair of gloves on,” the neighbor said, noting the suspect tried to run away prompting him to fire a shot in the air. “I told him to get on the ground or I was going to shoot him.”
The man said Ridge complied but then started digging in his pockets. It was later learned he had a pair of brass knuckles on his person.
“I told him that wasn’t a good idea,” the man recalled as he turned his attention to his partner in crime.
The man said he saw brake lights on the hill and yelled out to the man, later said to be Franzen, as he deserted his friend.
“I told him if he tried to leave I would shoot his buddy,” the man revealed, noting despite his threat and firing another round into the air, Franzen sped away.
Franzen, who has a lengthy criminal record, was caught a short time later and tendered a statement along with Ridge.
“He (Franzen) said they were going to a party and there’d be dope and girls there,” said sheriff’s investigator Jason Rowland, noting both men stuck with the claim they were going to a party.
Following the hearing, Franzen was brought back out of the court holding cell after he allegedly made a threat toward the man who captured Ridge outside the scene of the crime. Franzen claimed he made a mistake, backtracking on his alleged threat.
“You know how the system works,” Locke said referring to his time in the state penitentiary, noting he should know better than to even speak to a witness against him.
Franzen told the judge he has tried to stay clean since his last bout in prison.
“I came to McMinnville to make a new start,” Franzen maintained.