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Intruder killed in Tierra Verde home invasion

8:27 PM, Mar 12, 2011   |    comments
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Tierra Verde, Florida -- An intruder is dead after forcing himself inside a home in a Pinellas County neighborhood.

"I'm a believer that anything can happen at any time, but it's shocking," said Garrett Ziegler.

Ziegler woke up Saturday morning to police cars two doors down from his 3rd Avenue South home.

"I was thinking a break-in, but definitely not a homicide. When I looked down there at 5:30 a.m., there had to be between 15 and 20 police cars and CSI vans, so it's very unusual for this neighborhood," Ziegler said.

According to detectives, the occupants of the home, a man and a woman, were sleeping when they were awakened by a knock at the door. The female victim came to answer the door. The intruder forced his way into the home, attacked the female victim and attempted to carry her up the stairs. She began to scream and the male victim heard the screams and came downstairs to see what was happening.

Detectives say the intruder then ordered the male victim to give him money. A struggle began between the suspect and the male victim. The female victim was able to get away, went to the bedroom for a firearm, and then returned and shot the intruder.

Investigators say the intruder was identified as Albert Hill. He's been arrested before on drug charges and disorderly intoxication.

"There are a variety of interviews that are being done with people in the area and the occupants of the house," said Cecillia Barreda, a spokesperson for the Pinellas County Sheriff Office.

Neighbors say that this wasn't the first time that sheriff's deputies have been called to investigate an incident at the home owned by Robert Planthaber.

"It would be when he would throw large parties and would have different types of characters there and, lot of times, the police would get called because it was going on so late and neighbors would complain and the police would come over and have them stop the noise," said Mary Matthews, who lives down the street from where the homicide took place.

The home was known throughout the neighborhood due to a mailbox attached to a statue of a pirate girl.

"It's very easy to say, you know where the pirate house is. That's all you had to say is 'where the pirate girl is' and people would know what house you were talking about," Matthews said.

Both victims were treated for non life-threatening injuries. 

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