A 31-year-old Ottawa man was busy making the rounds Sunday on the city’s northeast side, but it wasn’t on the nearby golf course.
Emily Graves said she was not expecting a stranger to come calling early Sunday at their apartment in the 1100 block of Diamond Head Road, near the GreatLife Golf & Fitness course, 1001 E. Logan St., Ottawa.
“At about 9:30 a.m., my 4-year-old son came into the bathroom where I was getting ready,” Graves said. “He said, ‘Mommy, there is a curly haired man here.’ I assumed [the man] was talking to my husband, so I asked my son if he was talking to Daddy. He said, ‘No, I think he wants to talk to you maybe.’”
Graves was expecting the man to be waiting at the front door of her apartment and wasn’t prepared for what happened next, she said.
“I went out towards our living room, expecting him to be outside on the front porch area, but he was standing in our kitchen, picking up and looking through items on our kitchen table,” Graves said. “I asked him if I could help him, and he looked at me like he didn’t understand me. He appeared to be under the influence of something, so I told him I think he had the wrong apartment.”
Graves didn’t realize at the time that she might have been talking with a suspected burglar who was combing her neighborhood, she said.
“He stared at me and then asked if I wanted his phone to call 911,” Graves said. “I told him, no, but he needed to leave.”
Graves backed her two children into the couple’s bedroom so she could shut the door between the man and the three of them if necessary, she said.
“I repeated about five times that he needed to get out of our apartment,” Graves said. “Finally, he walked out our front door, and I ran and locked it after him. My husband came out, and I told him what happened, and so he ran out the door to see if he could see the guy.”
The man was gone, Graves said, but her husband saw an Ottawa police cruiser slowly driving past their apartment.
“He went out and explained what happened, and the police officer told him that fits the description of the guy they were looking for — apparently someone else had reported him wandering around the duplexes” north of the golf course, she said.
Meanwhile, one street over about 9:30 a.m., a 43-year-old Ottawa man told police officers an unknown suspect had entered his garage and stolen property in the 1000 block of Pebble Beach Lane.
Police continued their search for the suspect into the afternoon. At 3 p.m., a 24-year-old Ottawa man reported he came home to find a man in his home in the 1100 block of Pebble Beach Lane. The victim said the suspect fled with property after he confronted him, according to a police report.
Police later arrested Mark Wayne Baber, 31, Ottawa, in connection with a pair of burglaries Sunday on Pebble Beach Lane. Baber was booked at 12:22 a.m. Monday into the Franklin County Jail, 305 S. Main St., Ottawa, on suspicion of aggravated burglary and theft, according to a Franklin County Jail booking report.
“About 4 [p.m. Sunday], an officer came by and informed us that the guy had been caught after he had robbed someone else’s apartment,” Graves said.
The experience offered a life-teaching moment for the Graves household, too, she told friends on her Facebook page.
“Scary! So [the 4-year-old] and I have had the ‘You never answer the door for ANYONE’ talk,” Graves wrote on Facebook.