Victim Walks in on Burglary, Captures Suspect
OLD FORGE — Wednesday afternoon, police in Lackawanna County made a second arrest following a break-in Tuesday night in Old Forge.
The first would-be burglar wasn’t as difficult to track down because of some quick thinking by the burglary victim.
Both men accused of breaking in to, and trying to burglarize, a home in Old Forge are locked up in the Lackawanna County Prison in Scranton.
But, that might not have been the case if it were not for TJ Cusumano. He came home while the burglary was underway and took matters into his own hands.
Cusumano was back at work at his family’s grocery store in Newton Township without a scratch on him. When less than 24 hours earlier he had become something of a vigilante.
Cusumano arrived home Tuesday night, chased down and captured a man who had broken into his family’s home in Old Forge.
“I took two steps into my garage and I heard rumbling upstairs, like someone was racing to get out of my house,” said Cusumano.
Cusumano guessed correctly that the burglars would head toward the woods in his backyard, so that’s where he headed and spotted one of the two men suspected of breaking into the house.
Nathaniel Kauffman of Scranton has since been charged with burglary and criminal trespassing.
“We ran for about 40 yards and I gained on him, and I just tackled him into the weeds. I held him there before the cops got there,” added Cusumano.
Cusumano said his heart was racing, but he wasn’t scared. So calm, in fact, that while he waited for police he pulled out his phone and snapped a photo of the would-be burglar.
Police said Kauffman had taken a box of jewelry from the home, but after he was tackled, Cusumano took it back.
Cusumano’s quick thinking also led to the arrest of the second would-be burglar.
Police said Kauffman gave up the name of his accomplice, Christopher Condeelis. Condeelis was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon.
The Cusumano’s think they may have been targeted because the accused crooks thought the family would not be home. Earlier Tuesday night they had attended a family member’s funeral that was publicized in the newspaper.
“I never thought I would do that. But, like I said, it was just an emotional roller coaster of a day, and he just got me. I wasn’t going to let him get away, not him, not then,” said Cusumano.
According to officials with the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s office, Condeelis had not been officially charged as of Wednesday evening.