Families recall being held at knifepoint by man who broke into t - KCTV5 News

Families recall being held at knifepoint by man who broke into their homes

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Justin P. Smith's mugshot. (KCTV) Justin P. Smith's mugshot. (KCTV)

Police say a man high on meth burst into home after home, holding a mother and a veteran with disabilities at knifepoint as he tried to find a car to steal. 

KCTV5 News talked to the mother who had to protect herself from the intruder, and she said she is relieved the suspect is locked up inside the Jackson County Jail.

When she had a knife placed against her throat, she did everything she could to remain calm.

Investigators said a man high on meth broke into a home near East 49th Street and Sni-A-Bar Terrace, but found no car to steal.

He then made his way next door.

Neva Crippen said a jittery Justin P. Smith demanded a cell phone and keys to a car that was parked outside.

“Something hit the back door and it opened,” Crippen recalled. "We kept telling him, 'The owners aren't here. We don't have any keys.'”

That's when she said he came up behind her and held a knife to her throat.

She felt she had to do something.

"That's when I reached up and grabbed it and kind of pushed it away,” she said.

Crippen is thankful she only had a minor cut.

She and her daughter shouted for the man to leave and, to their surprise, he did.

“It scared her really bad,” Crippen said, talking about her daughter. “She was actually on the floor after he went out the door, and I locked it and called 911.”

Just down the street, police said Smith also held a veteran with disabilities at knifepoint.

His grandson tried to help when the stranger forced his way into their home. 

“I go to close the door, but he pulls it,” Antonio Burns remembered. “He overpowered me. He pushed me back and held a knife up to his throat.”

Smith is charged with robbery, burglary and armed criminal action. He's accused of stealing Burns’ grandfather's truck, as well.

“The only thought in my head was, ‘Give him the keys and get him out of here as soon as possible,’” Burns said.

According to court records, while he was being interviewed by police, Smith admitted to being high, breaking into the homes and threatening the victims with a knife.

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