Grandma helps bust Chicago burglary ring with good ol' common sense; she locked her door

Annette Etchingham
CBS Chicago
(CBS) CHICAGO - A Chicago grandmother helped bust up a burglary ring simply by sticking to simple "safety first" practices when a pair of would-be thieves came calling, according to CBS Chicago.

Chicago police say thanks to 82-year-old Annette Etchingham, they caught a couple of cousins behind hundreds of thefts from the elderly. 

Etchingham's story goes like this:

On Monday, according to police, a man suspected of working with the cousins  came to Etchinngham's front door, and told her the bottom of the ramp leading to her garage needed to be painted with tar.

"I was confused by it," said Etchingham. "I said, 'Who do you work for?' and he said, 'I work for the city.'"

The man had a radio with him, making Etchingham think he was someone official, CBS Chicago reported.

"I didn't stop to think, let me see your credentials," she said.

The grandmother of 19 says the man appeared ready to walk into her Avondale home. But, in the simple exercise of common sense, she told them to go through the gangway, saying, "I don't allow anyone to go through my house."

Etchingham spent a short time with the man. He kept talking on his radio, while she went back into the house.

Sources say that's when a pair of cousins - one named Vinnie Miller, the other named Vinny Miller (yes, this is true) - went up to her porch and tried to open the front door. They didn't know Etchingham had locked it behind her.

At the same time, tactical officers patrolling the area saw the Miller cousins (that would be Vinnie and Vinny) running, and arrested them.

"I just thank God that the police are patrolling our neighborhood," Etchingham said. "They were here when I needed them."

After the Millers' court appearance on Wednesday, the families (of Vinnie and Vinny) declined to talk, only making obscene gestures.

Etchingham says she's sharing her story, because she doesn't want any other seniors to be victims.

Anyone who may have been a victim of the Millers'  (Vinnie and Vinny) alleged crime spree is asked to call police.