When Ann Nichols’ home alarm system indicated that the garage door had been opened just after 1 a.m. last Tuesday, the 61-year-old grandmother was wary—her Muncie, Ind., residence had been burglarized before. While her sister, Jane, dialed 911, Nichols grabbed her handgun, and she and her nephew, Nick, went into the garage to investigate. Nick saw the intruder, 29-year-old Mark West Jr., first and pinned him behind the opened door—but then Nichols took over, putting the handgun to West’s throat and warning him not to move. Despite repeated requests from West to put the gun down, Nichols held him until police arrived about 10 minutes later.
West, who had a prior armed robbery conviction, reportedly told officers that he was just looking for gas, but as Jane pointed out, “You don’t go getting gas with gloves and a duffel bag.”