Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News
Jennifer Hogan relaxes in her Kearns home Thursday. She tackled a young intruder in her house the day before and pinned him until police arrived.

KEARNS — Jennifer Hogan knew something wasn't right the minute she stepped into her house.

"I could smell smoke," she said. "And no one in the house smokes."

She walked quietly through the rest of her house so she could figure out what was happening. That's when she came across a 17-year-old burglar who had broken in and was stealing items.

But rather than run away or scream or even act scared, Hogan took matters into her own hands.

As the teenage boy tried to run up the stairs past her, Hogan grabbed his leg and sent him tumbling to the ground face first.

"I pile-drived him right into the carpet," she said. "It was a good NFL moment."

The incident happened Wednesday morning. Hogan, 28, had just arrived home from an appointment when she came across the stranger in her house. Investigators believe the boy entered through a basement window. Hogan said a couple of the windows hadn't been locking right since some recent flooding problems.

The teen, who said he had been suspended from school, was smoking cigarettes and drinking her alcohol and had gone through her medicine cabinet and taken some jewelry, Hogan said. She found him coming out of a basement bedroom.

Hogan's former father-in-law was a law enforcement officer and had taught her a few safety tips, including how to assess a potentially dangerous situation. There are times when it is safer not to confront a criminal, she said. But once Hogan saw the teen try to run up the stairs past her, the unassuming-looking Hogan said her instincts took over.

"This is my house, this is my property. You have to fight for what you believe in," she said.

The spunky Hogan said she comes from a small town and has observed ongoing "social decline" in communities. She said it's time for residents to make a stand and take back their neighborhoods from burglars and other thugs.

"I refuse to be a victim," she said.

Once Hogan had the teen pinned face down on the ground, she sat on him and used one hand to hold his arm back and the other to dial 911 on her cell phone.

"I said, 'I will dislocate your shoulder if you try to move,"' she said. "I guess there's something to be said for a very angry Irish woman from Boston."

Hogan was able to hold on to the boy until the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office arrived and arrested him. The teen was booked into juvenile detention for investigation of a number of charges.


E-mail: preavy@desnews.com