Menominee man thwarts home invasion
Intruder wrestled to the ground until police arrive
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 7:00 PM
MENOMINEE - A home invasion is defined as the burglary of a dwelling while the residents are home. How many home invasions take place in the U.S. each year? That number is difficult to get at the moment because the website for the Office of Justice Programs is down due to the lapse in federal funding.
This much we do know. A 44-year-old New Jersey man was shot to death in his living room Monday night by an intruder demanding money. Early Tuesday morning, a 33-year-old Racine, Wis., man suspected of home invasion was shot by the homeowner. He's expected to survive.
Closer to home, the Bret Boivin family of Menominee has their own story to tell. Even though no shots were fired, they too were the victims of a home invasion on Oct. 1.
Bret and Sherrie Boivin just moved into their new home about three weeks ago. The family was sound asleep, their four children tucked safely in bed, when just before midnight Bret heard the floor creak. At first he thought it was one of his 9-year-old twin sons trying to sneak into their bed. It wasn't until he saw the size of the head and the color of the hair that he knew something was terribly wrong.
"I kind of leaned up over and saw someone on all fours, on their hands and knees with a black sweatshirt on with a hood over their head," Bret said. "I jumped out of bed and yelled, 'what the heck are you doing in my room?"
The suspect then called him by name saying, "I'm sorry Bret. I'm sorry Bret." Boivin said the adrenaline was rushing through him. All he could think about was preventing the intruder from hurting his family.
"I'm looking up at him and I gave him a forearm right to the chest and got him to the wall and I tried to get him down to the ground," he said.
Boivin, who is 5 foot 7, said he could immediately see that the intruder, who was about 6 foot 2, had a height advantage on him. He also wasn't sure who he was dealing with or if he was carrying any weapons.
"I tried to get him down on the ground and got him down and told him to keep his hands apart where I could see them," Boivin said. "I got on top of him and put my knee in his back and grabbed him by the back of the hair just so he wouldn't keep moving."
Sherrie called for help and the suspect remained pinned to the floor until police arrived. During the scuffle the Boivin children, Baylin, 14, Channing, 13, and 9-year-old twins Mason and Kennison all stayed in their bedrooms.
"My nine-year-olds did not come out of their room. One hid in the closet, one hid under the bed on their own without being told," said Bret, who hasn't had a decent night's sleep for more than a week.
"A new house, you hear all these creaks, one of the boys gets up to go the bathroom ... you're always on edge now. It's nerve-wracking still, even after a week," he said.
As for the police response time, Boivin said help was there almost immediately.
"There were about three or four cars there but there were five or six officers there right away, which was really nice," he said. "If he (the suspect) would have got up and started running I don't know if I would have been able to hold him down or I could have got seriously injured, too."
Boivin said he's just glad the whole thing ended without anyone getting hurt. As it turned out the intruder was an aquaintance of one of the Boivin boys. He was taken into custody and is expected to face juvenile charges.
"Every scenario is different so you have to be careful," said Menominee Police Capt. Brian Barrette. "If it was my home, first and foremost I'm protecting my kids and family."
Barrette said the first thing people should do in a situation like this is to try to get to a safe place in the home. If it's a matter of losing property or a life, there's no choice, objects are replaceable and human life is not, he said.