In the Highland Park subdivision, they’re calling Eddie and Pam Cole "Dirty Harry and Dirty Harriet."
The Flowery Branch couple put a halt to a rash of auto break-ins last week when they held two suspected teenage bandits at gunpoint.
The string of thefts from unlocked cars prompted a homeowners’ association meeting earlier this month. Among the victims was the Coles’ next door neighbor, who had a Global Positioning System stolen from his truck.
A few days later, a couple of teen suspects were able to get away after being chased on foot by a neighbor and a sheriff’s deputy.
Then early Friday, Pam Cole, a 46-year-old orthodontic technician, awoke at 3 a.m. and got out of bed to turn down the heat in the house.
As she walked past a window, she spotted two young men wearing black hooded sweatshirts walking down the middle of Wilmington Way.
"I told my husband, you might want to get dressed and check out what these people are doing," Cole recalled.
Then she saw that the two dark figures were rummaging through her PT Cruiser.
"I said ‘You better get your gun. They’re already in my car.’"
Eddie Cole, dressed only in his bathrobe, grabbed his Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum revolver and headed outside to confront the teens.
"Hold it right there. I’ll drop you where you stand," Cole said, as he pointed the nickel-plated, six-inch barrel in their direction. One hand gripped the gun, the other the loose sash of his bathrobe.
"They stopped right away," said Eddie Cole, a 41-year-old mason.
Both suspects, one 15, the other 18, put up their hands and sat down on the edge of the sidewalk as instructed. Pam Cole dialed 911 and told an operator her husband had two suspects at gunpoint.
Eddie Cole then asked his wife, "Baby, go get me some pants."
When she returned to the driveway, he handed the gun off to her while he put on pants and a pair of slippers. She kept the revolver trained on the young suspects, their heads hung low.
"I knew this was a bad idea," the younger one said, according to the Coles.
Within 10 minutes, Hall County sheriff’s deputies had arrived and put handcuffs on the two suspects.
Anthony Joseph Cerny, 18, and a 15-year-old male whose name is not being released because of his age, were charged with two counts each of entering auto, Hall County Sheriff’s Maj. Jeff Strickland said.
Nearby, deputies found a Toyota Camry filled with stolen items, according to the Coles. The car belonged to the mother of one of the suspects, they said.
Since then, the couple, who moved into the home with their two daughters two years ago, have been hailed as neighborhood heroes.
"I’ll never gripe again about him watching those police shows," Pam Cole said of her husband.
Eddie Cole said he’d draw his gun again in an instant.
"I wouldn’t hesitate to use it, either," he said. "I work too hard for my stuff for anybody to steal it. I would have gone out there buck naked if I had to."
Said his wife, "This shows that just because you’re old and married, it doesn’t mean you won’t stand your ground."