3 burglary suspects thwarted by gun-packing homeowner in Jefferson County

L-R: Stephen Ray Mangham, Allyson Starr Gay and Herschel Simmons.

A homeowner in Jefferson County thwarted three suspects from stealing his tools after he held the trio at gunpoint, freezing them dead in their tracks until sheriff's deputies could arrive to haul them to jail, Chief Deputy Randy Christian said.

Stephen Ray Mangham, 33, and Allyson Starr Gay, 23, both of Brookwood, as well as Herschel Simmons, 51, of Tuscaloosa, were arrested and each charged with three counts of third-degree burglary, three counts of unlawful breaking and entering a vehicle, possession of burglary tools and one count of second-degree criminal trespassing.

According to Christian, deputies responded to a burglary-in-progress call around 6 p.m. at a home in the 6000 block of Blue Creek Road. Upon arriving, authorities learned that trio had broken into three storage buildings and three vehicles before the gun-toting property owner confronted the suspects, holding them at gunpoint until the authorities arrived to investigate.

When first questioned about their alleged actions, the suspects told deputies that they had been given permission by "someone" to be on the property to collect scrap items. The owner refuted their initial claim, prompting the would-be burglars to change their story. They then said the homeowner's donkey had managed to get outside of the fenced-in property and they were there trying to coax it back inside the fence with a cracker.

Both alibis proved to be false and they were taken into custody then transported to the Jefferson County Jail. The suspects are each being held on bonds totaling $36,000.