Suspect of Christmas Eve home break-in identified

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth Police have released new information in a home break-in incident that occurred Christmas Eve.

According to police, the suspect of the break-in is 27-year-old Tyler Varnell.

10 On Your Side’s Joe Fisher first reported this story on Saturday.

A Neighbor heard him trying to break into the Orleans Drive home, and held him down until police arrived.  A 78-year-old woman, her son and grandson were sleeping inside at the time.

The homeowner says Varnell tried to escape by throwing a hammer through the front window and diving out head-first onto the front lawn.

That’s when neighbor Buddy Bell helped pin him down.

“We fought all the way from the flower bed to the middle of the yard right here. And the whole time the boy is crying and screaming,” Bell says.

Varnell is facing burglary and assault and battery charges.

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