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8.2.31 – The Guardian

Marjorie Perkins of Maine realized 17-year-old was ‘awfully hungry’ after defending herself and called 911 as he was eating

The household matriarch who insists on feeding visitors, especially young ones, stands among the most enduring US stereotypes.

But an 87-year-old woman from Brunswick, Maine, recently took that stereotype to an extreme by reportedly fighting off a teenager who broke into her home, then giving him snacks when he said he was hungry as she sent him on his way.

Marjorie Perkins is at the center of one of the latest strange tales to come out of the US criminal justice system. She was sleeping at her home about 2am on 26 July when she woke up, saw a 17-year-old boy who used to mow her grass standing over her, and heard him say: “I’m going to cut you,” according to the Brunswick Times Record newspaper.

“I thought to myself, ‘If he’s going to cut, I’m going to kick,’” Perkins said to the site. So the former elementary school teacher stood up and began putting on her shoes but then started being hit by the teen intruder.

Perkins somewhat slowed the attack by grabbing a chair and using it as a shield, and she began screaming for help. Yet no one else was in or around the home to hear her. The teen pushed her and repeatedly punched her, landing at least one blow on her forehead which left a bruise.

Meanwhile, Perkins kicked him and with the chair blocked him from getting closer, she told the Times Record.

The boy eventually grew tired, left her alone and went to the kitchen, Perkins recalled. That’s when she realized he wasn’t wearing pants or shoes. He had piled them up next to a knife that belonged to him and Perkins’s window air-conditioning unit, which he had removed to create a gap through which he could break in.

“You need to get out,” Perkins – who had locked her front door – told the boy. “You need help.”

According to what Perkins told the Times Record, he replied that “he was awfully hungry and hadn’t had anything to eat for a while”.

Perkins responded by handing him a box of peanut butter and honey crackers. She also gave him two tangerines and a pair of Ensure protein shake containers.

The teen accepted Perkins’s offerings and even began eating some of them. While the boy was distracted, Perkins said she grabbed her phone – a rotary one – and dialed 911 “as fast as [she] could”.

The boy left before police arrived. But officers tracked him down a few blocks away with the help of a police dog, arrested him and booked him into a youth detention center on counts of burglary, criminal threatening and assault.skip past newsletter promotion

He also faces a count of consuming liquor as a minor because he had a water bottle full of alcohol on him when he was arrested.

Perkins told the Times Record that she hopes the boy is afforded all the help he needs putting his life back on track. She said he would do “a darn good job” when he would mow her lawn for extra spending money about 10 years earlier.

She also said she was thankful she had not been hurt worse during the break-in because she stays active by teaching line dancing classes.

As she spoke to the Times Record, Perkins made it a point to urge people to make sure their window air-conditioning units are properly secured so they don’t provide an opportunity to burglars. She added that a neighbor had since given her a bat for protection while a worker had reinforced her air conditioner with screws.

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