Sheriff: Man burglarized home while teen hid in laundry room

Published: Nov. 22, 2011 at 6:54 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2011 at 6:55 PM EST
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Richard O'Neil Hatchell (Source: Lexington County Sheriff's Department)
Richard O'Neil Hatchell (Source: Lexington County Sheriff's Department)

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - For anyone, a home burglary is terrifying. Being home when it happens, panic and fear kick in.

On a typical Monday afternoon, Savannah Calvert is in school. She's a straight-A senior at Glenforest High. But this Monday, while sick at home in Gilbert, she had to hide from an intruder.

The intruder went all around the house looking for every way possible to get it. He finally broke through the glass and let himself in and started rummaging through the house.

"It's the grace of God and my own gut instinct that took over," said Savannah.

That's all it took for Savannah to make a split-second decision.

"I heard the door being busted and I heard the dead bolt 'click' and the door go wide open," said Savannah. "I didn't have time to feel anything. I was in disbelief that this was really happening -- very surreal."

Home alone and now scared, she made her way down the hall to the laundry room.

"As I'm dialing 911, I hear the glass door break so I hide in this area and I wait for a little bit," said Savannah.

Police say 56-year-old Richard Hatchell was breaking in. Scared to make a sound, Savannah moved to the back door with an escape plan in mind.

"If I hear footsteps coming down this hall, I'm opening up the door and letting the dogs take care of him then I'm going to get out," said Savannah.

Meantime she heard the intruder rifling through her bedroom.

"He had taken a pillowcase off my bed and filled it with jewelry and old antique bottle and whatever he could get his hands on," said Calvert. "The place I feel most safe is my room and that was violated."

Fortunately Savannah never saw the man face to face, but the damage was done.

"You're going through a regular day and you get a call that your daughter is in danger and she's scared and you come home," said Barton Calvert, Savannah's dad. "It took me 15 minutes to make a 20 minute trip."

On the way home, Barton called an alarm company to get a system installed immediately.

"Don't take for granted that each day something can happen to change everything," said Barton.

"All these different scenarios kept running through my head, but I did the right thing," said Savannah. "He was caught, nobody was hurt and I got my stuff back so all in all I did the best thing."

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