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Homeowner Hopes Injured, Captured Intruder Is OK

A Johnston County homeowner surprised two intruders Thursday and apprehended one of them after the man was pinned against a gate. The homeowner said he hopes the intruder is OK.

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SELMA, N.C.Editor's Note: WRAL.com initially ran a photo with this story that it identified as Cornelius Brown. The photo was not of Mr. Brown, and WRAL.com regrets the error.


A Johnston County homeowner surprised two intruders Thursday afternoon and apprehended one of them by using his truck to pin the man between a car and a fence gate, authorities said.

The incident happened about 2 p.m. near the intersection of Hawkins Road and U.S. Highway 301 between Micro and Selma, according to Tammy Amaon of the Johnston County Sheriff's Office.

John Reid said he had taken the day off from work and came home around lunchtime. He pulled into his gravel driveway, he told officials, and saw two men getting into a brown sedan outside a gate on his property.

"They were coming from behind my property, and I knew something was wrong there," he said, adding that he keeps equipment for his landscaping business behind the gate.

Reid said he did not know if the men were armed or not, but felt that he could not let them get away and tried to block the sedan in with his truck.

"I tried to block them in to let them know that the sheriff was coming," Reid said. But then the driver got out of the car and tried to run, so Reid hit the gas.

"My foot ended up getting stuck on the gas pedal and in between the brake, and I hit their car," he said.

His truck rammed into the car, pinning one of the men between it and a gate post.

“I’m just wondering if the guy’s OK,” Reid said. “I hadn’t heard anything, but I’d just like to know he’s OK. I mean, he did what he did. We all make mistakes. I’m just hoping he’s going to be OK.”

Cornelius Brown, who was pinned by Reid's car, was airlifted to Duke University Hospital. His condition was unavailable, but sheriff's deputies said they will charge Brown when he is released from the hospital.

Police also took Mark Ray McNair, 46, of Dudley, into custody in connection with the incident.

Police found a stolen piece of machinery belonging to Reid into the back of the sedan. Reid said the stolen equipment was a piece of machinery used to dig holes.

Thursday marked the fourth time his property had been burglarized in the past year, he said.

"Unfortunately, for the last year, people feel like they can just come out here and take what they want," Reid said.

Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said they are investigating whether the two might be linked to other burglaries in the area.

Bizzell said no final determination has been made, but it is unlikely Reid will be charged.

"I don't think John Reid has done anything wrong, but the investigation is ongoing," Bizzell said. "The bottom line is these guys shouldn't be on his property and, most definitely, should not have been stealing the merchandise that belongs to Mr. Reid."

Brown and McNair will be charged with larceny, trespassing and possession of burglary tools, officials said.


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