An 87-year-old woman from Brunswick, Maine, took hospitality to the extreme last week when she fought off a teenage intruder in her home, but then proceeded to feed him crackers and oranges — showing that any conflict is easier to resolve on a full stomach.
Marjorie Perkins was asleep in her home last Wednesday when she was awoken around 2 a.m. and saw a teenager standing over her bed.
“He said, ‘I’m going to cut you,’” Perkins told the Brunswick Times Record newspaper. “I thought to myself, ‘If he’s going to cut, I’m going to kick.’ So I jumped into my shoes.”
Perkins said the teen started hitting her so she grabbed a chair to use as a shield.
“I was hollering for help out the window. … Thank God I had the chair between us. It would’ve been worse,” said Perkins, adding that no one heard her cries and the attack continued.
“He kept punching me and pushing me,” she said. The teen punched her forehead, causing a bruise, but Perkins kicked him and fought back with the chair. Eventually, she managed to push him away.
The 87-year-old said her teenage attacker got tired and went into her kitchen.
She noticed he wasn’t wearing pants or shoes, which were in a pile along with a knife next to the air-conditioning unit installed on her window. She said the teen must have moved the air-conditioner’s side panel and squeezed through the gap to break in, since she locked her front door before going to bed.
Perkins followed the teen into her kitchen and told him he needed to leave and seek help.
“He said he was awfully hungry and hadn’t had anything to eat for quite a while,” Perkins recounted. “I said, ‘Well, here’s a box of peanut butter and honey crackers. You can have that whole box.’ I gave him two containers of Ensure and I gave him two tangerines.”
As the intruder was eating, Perkins said she dialled 911 on her rotary phone.
“I dialled as fast as I could,” she said.
The teen left before police arrived, leaving his shoes behind, but a Brunswick police dog was able to track the teen to a location a few blocks away. He was taken into custody and detained at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland.
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The identity of the home invader wasn’t released by police, but Perkins said he was 17 years old and used to mow her lawn to make extra money about 10 years ago.
“He did a darn good job,” she said. “I hope he gets help.”
The teen faces charges of burglary, criminal threatening, assault and consuming liquor as a minor. Thankfully, Perkins was not seriously injured in the assault.
The 87-year-old is a former elementary school teacher, and has taught line dancing for the last 25 years to stay active — perhaps that’s her secret to defending oneself against young attackers.
She said a neighbour gave her a bat to protect herself after the attack and a worker came in to reinforce her air-conditioning unit with extra screws. Perkins is warning others to ensure their air-conditioners are properly installed to prevent break-ins.
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