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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

 

Woman pins burglar until police arrive

York City woman pins burglar until police arrive

ELIZABETH EVANS The York Dispatch Updated: 09/30/2009 11:32:32 AM EDT
 

Tina Graham, shown Tuesday in the yard of her York City home, found an intruder in the home early Sunday morning. She jumped on the man and pinned him against the chain-link fence after he dragged her outside. She hung on until police arrived to make an arrest. (Doug Bauman photo)  

 

Tina Graham doesn't understand why people are so fascinated that she dove on a burglar and hung onto him until police arrived.

"To me, it was just what I had to do," the 40-year-old York City woman said. "Everyone's making such a big deal about it. I didn't know it would be this big."

Graham said she was sleeping in her North Hartman Street home about 2:30 a.m. Sunday when a noise awakened her. Normally, her boyfriend Daniel Arnold and their Pomeranian would have been with her, but they'd gone to visit a friend in Gettysburg, she said.

"I'd taken the phone to bed with me," Graham said. "I snuck downstairs and noticed a light coming from the kitchen -- like a flashlight. I looked around the corner, saw the (back) door open and called

Kornbau ... faces several charges related to the break-in. 911."

That's when she walked around the corner and told the intruder, "You're going to jail."

"He tried to go out the door he came in," Graham said. "But I just jumped on him. I didn't even think about it. I've never done anything like that, never been put in a situation where you almost feel like you're fighting for your life."

Failed break-ins: Graham said someone had tried to break into her home twice in the past three months, on July 5 and again on Aug. 23. Both times, York City Police collected fingerprints but were unable to match them to a suspect, she said.

"I was just fed up," Graham said. "All I could think about was, if he gets away, police still won't be able to find him. The adrenaline takes over, and the fear takes over."

Graham said she grabbed Brian Jay Kornbau around the waist and he dragged her outside into her yard.

She held on, though, and used her 140 pounds of body weight to pin the 5-foot-11, 160-pound man against her chain-link fence.

"He kept begging me to let him go, but I said, 'You're not getting away this time,'" Graham said. "He beat on me the whole time. He was punching and kicking me. ... He bit me in the shoulder and he elbowed me in the mouth."

Graham said she was left with three loose teeth as a result. Thankfully, she said, his bite did not pierce her skin.

"I just did the best I could and prayed to God to give me strength," she said. "Somehow, I held onto him. I was really scared, but it was either him or me."

Locked up: Arriving York City officers arrested Kornbau, 39, of 1394 Lancaster Ave. in Spring Garden Township. He remains in York County Prison on $25,000 bail, charged with burglary, simple assault, criminal trespass, attempted burglary and possessing instruments of crime.

Officers seemed surprised by Graham's actions, she said.

"They were like, 'We're so proud of you. You did a great job,'" she said.

Charging documents state the officers found two screwdrivers and a pocketknife on Kornbau when they searched him.

"I didn't know that until the police told me," Graham said.

The documents also state that Kornbau admitted he tried to break into Graham's home on July 5 and Aug. 23.

Sore, but proud: Graham had never seen Kornbau before and said she has no idea why he targeted her home. He graduated from York Suburban Senior High School in 1988 with her boyfriend, who said Kornbau was "always weird," she said.

Graham said she's sore and "pretty banged up from the scuffle," and that her screams for help left her hoarse. But she feels good about what she did.

"It's still hard for me to believe I did it," she said.

Graham feels sorry for Kornbau's children and parents.

"He's embarrassed his whole family," she said. "I'd like to know how he'd feel if it was his daughter or his mother in my position."


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