By Tim Eberly
Larry Lawson wanted to help the teenage girl he found in his living room at 3:30 a.m. last Tuesday until he figured out she had likely stolen his son's go-cart and items from his vehicles.
"I said, I really don't appreciate helping you and then you robbing me blind,'" Lawson said.
A 15-year-old girl was arrested on 10 charges, including motor vehicle theft, burglary, and simple assault. Her 16-year-old friend faces six charges, including burglary, criminal trespass to vehicles, and purchasing or possessing intoxicants by a minor. A Hill County sheriff's report said the girls took property valued at $1,950.
Lawson's sleep was disturbed in the early morning hours last Tuesday, and he exited his bedroom and found a girl in his home.
"When I first saw her, we were within four feet of each other," said Lawson, 46, who lives with his family three miles north of Havre on Wildhorse Road. "It just kind of took me by surprise, seeing somebody in my living room. Then she said, Sir, I need help. We have a car problem.'"
Judging by the size of her shadow and the tone of her voice, Lawson did not perceive a threat. He left the room to put on more clothes so he could provide assistance.
When he returned to the living room, the intruder was gone.
"I walked out on the front deck and I saw somebody running down the highway," said Lawson, who delivers for UPS.
Lawson and his wife, Theresa, jumped in their 1993 Nissan pickup and drove into Havre, searching for a teenage girl or a broken-down car or both. They passed their son's go-cart on the shoulder of the road.
On their return home, they found two girls walking along Wildhorse Road, about a half mile from the Lawson home. Lawson gave the girls a ride to the abandoned go-cart. Minutes later, Lawson's 17-year-old daughter, Lisa, arrived in her vehicle, saying things were missing from each of the family's three vehicles.
Lawson asked the girls if they had stolen some of his property. One girl the one Lawson met for the first time in his living room cursed at him, Lawson said. "I said, You guys must have gone through all the cars. This stuff doesn't just disappear overnight.'" The girls directed him to a nearby ditch on the roadside, the sheriff's report said. In it, Lawson found clothes, compact discs, and parts of a car stereo.
He drove them back to his house, where the 15-year-old punched him in an attempt to flee, causing a slight cut above his eye, the sheriff's report said.
The sheriff's department received the call from Lawson's neighbors at 3:50 a.m., and a sheriff's deputy arrived at 4:07 a.m.
"We're always helping people whose cars break down," Lawson said. "But it's a good lesson to learn: Lock your doors. Had I not been home, I'm sure I would have lost a lot of stuff."