By Jean Cole and Adam Smith
When an armed burglar was breaking into an occupied apartment on Henry Drive in Athens just before 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon, the woman who lived there was home with a child.
Via telephone, she told her roommate, who had gone to the store, that someone was breaking in.
The panicked burglar — whom police were already pursuing for a break-in at a South Clinton Street home about 45 minutes earlier — was surprised to find someone inside the unit at Willow Brook Apartments.
Frightened at the sight of a burglar holding a shotgun, the woman in the apartment ran out the front door with her child and screamed that someone was breaking in. At the same time, the burglar ran out the backdoor. The roommate and a man accompanying her had arrived back at Willow Brook, and the man ran in the direction of the burglar but could not find him in the woods behind the complex. At 2:39 p.m., Athens Police Capt. Anthony Pressnell happened to be passing by Willow Brook looking for the suspect in the South Clinton burglary when he saw the woman run from her apartment screaming. He pulled into the apartment complex — located across the street from Athens Middle School — to investigate.
“That’s when we called in the prison dogs and the helicopter,” Police Chief Floyd Johnson said.
At 4:19 p.m., Officer Joel Hammond and Officer Joe McClanahan were checking Willow Brook for any other open doors when a resident told them that someone may be in one of the vacant apartments, the chief said. The two officers found the suspect hiding in a bedroom closest holding the shotgun, which was loaded.
‘No bond’ order
The suspect, Karl Julian Rambo Jr., 22, of 30 Holman Road, Fayetteville, Tenn., was being held without bond Friday in the Limestone County Jail Friday. A bond hearing was held Friday at which time District Judge Jerry Batts issued the “no bond” order. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 23.
Rambo is charged with first-degree burglary in connection with the apartment break-in, second-degree burglary for the alleged garage break-in, first-degree criminal trespass for allegedly entering the empty apartment, first-degree receiving stolen property in connection with the theft of a 1992 blue Ford Taurus, and second-degree receiving stolen property for allegedly stealing the shotgun.
Rambo had the key to the car in his pocket at the time of arrest, Johnson said.
A night-shift police officer had noticed the Taurus parked on Jefferson Street Wednesday night. When he ran the tag number, it came up as stolen out of Fayetteville on Tuesday.
Preliminary hearing set
Johnson said he didn’t know why Rambo was in Athens, but it was his understanding the car had a flat tire. When asked if Rambo was cooperative during questioning, the chief said, “to some degree.”
Giles County Sheriff’s officials have already contacted Athens Police regarding the theft of the car. Before Rambo could be extradited to Tennessee to face those charges, he would first have to be allowed to post bail, currently set at $21,000.
Johnson said Rambo told officers during the interview he was also on probation for a charge he received in Louisiana. The chief did not know what the charge was. His probation would likely be revoked as a result of the new charges.
Rambo also told police that, although he listed his address as 30 Holman Road in Fayetteville, he was currently homeless.