Tommy Sadler was sound asleep at 4:30 on Thursday morning when he heard a noise coming from inside his house.
His brother, who prepares the doughnuts at the west Macon cafe that Sadler runs, had left for work about an hour earlier.
Sadler, though, was dozing. He didn’t know what time it was. He figured the noise was his brother getting ready to leave.
It wasn’t. It was an intruder, one who was rifling through every drawer and every closet in the house.
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Sadler, 54, opened his eyes just in time to see someone in a hooded shirt crack open his bedroom door.
“I look up at this dude and he looks at me,” Sadler recalled Friday, “and he takes off running.”
Sadler, still groggy, grabbed his .40-caliber Glock and took off after the guy.
During the chase, Sadler said he let loose with a few “choice words” and yelled “what I would do to him if I got my hands on him” as he chased the man through a sunroom and out a sliding-glass door.
“When you wake from a dead sleep like that it takes you a minute to figure out what’s going on,” he said. “When I leave my room, I’m not sure if my brother’s there and he’s hurt or shot or gone. ... So I’m hollering for my brother as I’m running through the house.”
Sadler, the proprietor of Tommy’s Cafe & Bakery on Thomaston Road, ran to his garage for a flashlight and went outside looking for the intruder.
Unbeknownst to Sadler — whose house sits secluded beneath pecan trees just west of Interstate 75 on Hartley Bridge Road in southwestern Bibb County — the guy had made off with some $2,000 cash, five long guns and a Ruger pistol.
“As I was coming out of my house and he ran around to the front of my house, I heard my gun that he stole go off. ... I don’t know if he was shooting back at me or what,” Sadler said. “He ran off through the night toward the Flash Foods.”
Sadler later found $800 lying on his lawn. A sheriff’s deputy found the five long guns in some bushes.
“Whoever it was obviously knew my routine. They waited till my brother left before they came in the house, assuming it was me leaving,” Sadler said. “I’d have shot him, there’s no doubt. If I’d have been coherent enough when he came in my bedroom, they’d be doing an identification instead of an investigation.”
The intruder, it turned out, had slipped into the house by jimmying an old window.
Sadler said their encounter was a blur.
“All I could see was a dark figure. It startled him as bad as it startled me. He thought he had an empty house to go into and just have himself a time,” Sadler said.
“I want future invaders to understand, if you come to my house and break in, it’s best that I don’t wake up. ... Hope I don’t catch you.”