Homeowner nabs robbery suspect hiding in basement

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A Lawrenceville homeowner nabbed a robbery suspect at gunpoint Tuesday after police say the suspect took his original victim on a wild ride.

Fifty-five-year-old Russell Gray returned to his Savannah Rose Way home at about 5:45 p.m. Tuesday and found police scouring the area for 39-year-old Albert Lee Hughes Jr., a suspect in an earlier carjacking in a nearby neighborhood. Concerned about a pet door that he thought person could possibly fit through, Gray grabbed his personal handgun and began searching his house, police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said.

Sure enough, he found Hughes cowering in his basement and ordered him outside at gunpoint.

"Officers were in the immediate area and took Hughes into custody," Smith said.

The manhunt -- which included a Gwinnett police helicopter and several K-9 units -- all stemmed from an incident in which Hughes reportedly attempted to steal the pickup truck of a painter working across the street from his home on Sunset Ridge Lane.

While working behind the house, the painter reportedly heard his 1985 Chevy pickup being started in the driveway. When the truck stalled as Hughes was attempting to back out of the driveway, the painter jumped in the bed, Smith said.

Hughes allegedly drove for about a mile while swerving, hitting curbs and trying to throw the victim out of the car. Hughes eventually abandoned the truck and fled on foot before being discovered in Gray's basement, which Smith estimated is more than two miles from the original scene.

Hughes was arrested and has been charged with aggravated assault, robbery and criminal trespass. According to Gwinnett County Jail records, he had not been released on $11,400 bond as of Wednesday evening.