By Victor O'Brien
Killeen Daily Herald
The Killeen Police Department honored an alert resident Wednesday for stopping a burglary.
Rachel Cooper was feeding her 6-month-old baby, Trowa Cooper, at her home on Alpine Street on Oct. 22 when someone knocked on the door. With her baby in arms, she answered the door, and the person looked at her son and then looked at her and told Rachel that he had the wrong address, Cooper said.
Cooper closed the door but was suspicious, so through her peephole she watched the man go to her neighbor's home and knock on the door for 10 minutes before the man entered the home. Cooper spoke to her mother who told her to call the police even if she wasn't sure whether or not the man was committing a crime.
Cooper listened and over the phone gave police a description of the suspect and watched the suspect remove items as she waited until police arrived. The suspect was located nearby and arrested based on Cooper's description.
Cooper was honored Wednesday by KPD with the "Meritorious Service Award" and with a special KPD coin given to residents and officers who perform extraordinary actions.
"Most of our officers don't have one," KPD spokeswoman Carroll Smith said about the coin.
Cooper was nominated for the award by the arresting officer, Wes Roseberry.
"If more people would do that for us, we could get a handle on the burglary rate in this town," Roseberry said. "It was just real brave standing on the phone the whole time."
"It blew my mind a little bit," Cooper said about the nomination. "It was very unexpected. It makes me very proud."
Roseberry arrested Charles Julius Mack, 36, of Killeen, who is in Bell County Jail on charges of burglary of habitation, theft of more than $50 but less than $500, possession of marijuana weighing less than 2 ounces and other charges.
Smith said that while more residents like Cooper are watching out for their neighbors, there is still a lot of progress to be made.
"We rely on citizens to help us because we can't be everywhere," Smith said.
Cooper said her neighbor told her later that it was the only day he could remember that he left his door unlocked. The neighbor expressed his appreciation by giving Cooper a restaurant gift card for her good deed.
"It's sad because where I'm from, nothing like that happens," said Cooper, who lives in Killeen with her husband who is stationed at Fort Hood.
"It made me feel good to put a criminal behinds bars."