Muncie family foils Christmas Eve burglary

Tina Lofton

It's a story of justice handed out by the crime victims themselves. Accused burglars were stopped and a Christmas Eve break-in was foiled by a family.

Dustin Samuels and Tina Lofton of Muncie are facing felony burglary charges. Eyewitness News met the family members who caught them in the act.

"I seen a figure standing in my house, just standing there," said Austin Durke.

Durke noticed it right away: A shattered window and something worse.

"Seeing him there just scared me. So at that point, I knew we had to act and call 911 and also just get help," he said.

Help on that night came from an unlikely group of crime fighters who stopped a burglary and caught the suspects themselves.

"Never will forget this Christmas Eve!" laughed Shirley Carnes, Austin's aunt. "It's a story to tell our grandkids."

"You back your family up. You hurt one, you hurt us all," said Carnes.

"Had to protect what was in my house, what we worked hard for. I just couldn't let that happen, especially on Christmas Eve," said Durke.

Muncie investigators say Tina Lofton and Dustin Samuels stole from a house down the street, then targeted Austin's home. But his family, headed back from holiday celebrations, took action.

"I ran across the field just to try to stop the situation and at that time also, I saw that my uncle was running right behind me," said Durke.

Several family members surrounded the house. Austin's uncle tackled one suspect, who dove out a window. Then his aunt took on the female.

"I was holding onto her and I said, 'I know you.' And it stunned her. I didn't, but I just, something told me to say that," said Carnes.

But what the accused burglar told Shirley is really stunning.

"I said, 'You're ruining our Christmas.' She says, 'You're ruining my Christmas!' Huh?!" said Carnes.

The family held the suspects down until police arrived. Both accused burglars are now jailed.

This tightly-knit group who foiled the crime has an even bigger bond now, along with a message for criminals.

"It was just a whole team effort," said Durke.

"Hey don't mess with us, is all I can say!" said Carnes.

Investigators say they found electronics in the suspects' pockets, along with medication and bank information stolen from the other home that night.

The two suspects are expected to be formally charged next week.