Dowagiac couple restrains home intruder

Published 8:00 am Friday, December 11, 2015

When it comes to ensuring the safety of their children, a local couple demonstrated earlier this week that they were willing to risk life and limb.

Dowagiac’s Michael and Leslie Malin thwarted a man’s attempt to steal several items from their landscaping business, located just 30 yards away from their home, on Garret Road late Tuesday night. The couple, after discovering the intruder had broken into their property, restrained the invader until police officers arrived to detain him.

The suspected intruder, 39-year-old Terry Podmajerski, of Decatur, was arraigned on charges of breaking and entering and larceny in a building during an appearance in court Wednesday afternoon. He is being held on $20,000 bond.

Leslie, who has lived on Garret Road for nearly her entire life, said she she and her husband
never would have imagined dealing with someone sneaking onto their property — much less actually confronting their intruder and preventing him escaping.

“As I told the officers, it was for the protection of what was inside the house — there were four kids in there,” Leslie said.

Besides their three children, who were sleeping inside the house when the incident occurred, the Malins were hosting one of the friends of their daughter that night. The thought that they might come into harm’s way spurred Leslie’s actions in assisting her husband restrain the intruder, in spite of the fear coursing through her, she said.

Leslie was the one who first discovered something was amiss that night, she said. While standing outside their home, she noticed that the door to the office of their landscaping business was open — which, despite having several employees who work for the couple, normally wouldn’t have anyone inside that time of night.

When she mentioned it to Michael, he decided to drive over the office to investigate. After flicking on the lights, he discovered the intruder attempting to take several old computers and toolboxes from the property.

The suspect proceeded to run at the property owner, telling him “don’t make me shoot you.”

Suddenly thrust into a potentially life or death situation, Michael reacted quickly, pulling the intruder’s shirt above his head to prevent him from grabbing any weapons he believed the man had on him.

“He [Michael] didn’t want to let him get away,” “After all, you don’t want a mad man running around your property with a gun.”

While struggling to restrain the would-be thief, Michael called out for help, prompting Leslie to come over to help her husband. While on the phone calling the police for help, Leslie ran over to where the two men were scuffling, helping her husband hold down the man until authorities arrived a short time later, arresting the suspect.

Police discovered that Podmajerski did not have a firearm or any other weapon in his possession.

The couple had no prior association with their intruder, Leslie said.