Grandson breaks into and robs grandmother’s house

Published 4:15 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2016

By Brandon O’Connor


An 81-year old woman was tied up and robbed on Thursday, Nov. 17, during a home invasion in the Azalea Place Apartments on College Street.

Email newsletter signup

“It came in as an EMS call, but prior to officer’s arrival the victim notified 911 that someone had broken into her house,” Bainbridge Public Safety investigator Chris Avery said. “Officers arrived on scene and observed broken glass on the side door.”

Officers responded to a call at 10:01 p.m. and when they arrived on scene they found the victim lying on the floor in a fetal position in a back bedroom.

“The victim said she was lying in the back bedroom watching TV, when she heard a loud noise,” Avery said. “An explosion is how she described it. She left the room and started heading into the living room and that is when she was confronted by the suspect.”

The suspect was described as a white male wearing dark clothes, a black hood, gloves and brown boots. According to Avery, after making contact with the victim the suspect used a phone cord to tie her hands together before returning her to the back bedroom.

“The man told her he wasn’t going to hurt her,” Avery said. “Once inside the bedroom, he told her to lay down and face the ground. As she was sitting there, he took a bottle of hand lotion or soap and put it on her hands to pry the rings off her hands.”

He then left the room and proceeded to ransack multiple rooms throughout the house stealing a credit card and multiple pieces of jewelry.

“Moments later, he opened the door and walked back in the room,” Avery said. “He asked her if she needed anything and she said ‘yeah, can you dial 911 for me.’ She said the suspect got her phone, dialed 911 on it and placed it on the ground beside her and told her ‘when I leave, all you have to do is press the green button.’”

Due to the way she was treated, BPS officers immediately began to suspect that the suspect was someone that knew the victim. Just how close, they wouldn’t know until the next morning.

“We knew what we were looking at,” Avery said. “ We knew the suspect knew the victim somehow, because the suspect was so kind. She said he was nice the whole time.”

Officers returned the house to the next morning to follow up with the victim.

“The neighbors told us that the victim’s grandson came home around 1:30 in the morning, after the burglary happened,” Avery said. “She believed that he was staying with the victim. We knocked on the victim’s door and the grandson opened the door.”

According to Avery, they were immediately suspicious of the grandson, John Hanna, due to their belief that the suspect was someone that knew the victim and his overall demeanor.

“We began to talk to the grandson and he was just acting very suspicious,” Avery said. “He began asking me particularly about the evidence. He wanted to know what evidence was found and how much evidence.  That was a clue right there. Something’s not up. He was just really persistent about what we found…I had to cut him off two to three times.”

As Avery and Investigator Mark Esquivel were talking to the victim, their suspicions were heighted further when they observed Hanna stealing pills from his grandmother’s bathroom.

“The grandson went to the bathroom and he slipped two prescription pill bottles into his pocket,” Avery said. “He kind of did it where he didn’t think we could see it, but we did.”

When they confronted Hanna, he initially denied taking the pills before admitting to the theft. Officers then asked for and received permission to search his belongings, which were stored in the guest bedroom, the only room that was undistributed during the robbery.

“As Investigator Esquivel started searching [Hanna’s] property, is when he locates all the stolen items that the grandmother said were stolen the previous night,” Avery said.

Hanna was then arrested and eventually admitted to breaking into the home the night before. According to Avery, Hanna originally returned to his home in Dothan following the break in, but a call from his mother enticed him to return.

“He came over here the morning after the burglary to check on the grandmother because he was contacted by his mother,” Avery said. “His mother called him and said somebody broke into your grandmother’s house. She about had a heart attack and is really upset. Can you go and check on her, not knowing that he’s the one that did it.”

Avery said that the victim had no idea that the suspect was her grandson.

“She was a wreck,” Avery said of how the victim reacted to the news. “She wouldn’t stop crying she was just miserable. She couldn’t believe that her grandson would do that.”

Hanna is charged with robbery, burglary, false imprisonment and possession of a controlled substance.

About Brandon O'Connor


email author More by Brandon