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Georgia Couple Held At Gunpoint, Arrested While Trying To Enter New Home

Posted: 04/24/2012 10:37 am Updated: 04/26/2012 11:45 am

A Georgia couple who were trying to move into their new home were confronted by neighbors at gunpoint before they were then arrested and held overnight in jail.

Jean-Joseph and Angelica Kalonji said they were told by their real estate agent to go to their new home in Newton County and change the locks. Their son had just purchased the home, and the entire family was slated to move in.

But when they arrived and tried to enter, two neighbors, Robert Canoles and his 18-year-old son, Branden, snuck up behind the Kalonjis with semiautomatic weapons.

"He [said] to put the hands up and get out from the house, otherwise he would shoot us," Jean Kalonji, who hails from the Congo, told a local television station.

The Kalonjis said they were held by the gunmen for 10 minutes with their hands above heir heads, and that they thought they were being robbed.

The couple did not have their closing papers with them and could not prove that they owned the home. When deputies arrived, they arrested the Kalonjis and charged them with loitering and prowling.

The sheriff's deputies who arrived at the scene commended the two neighbors for their response.

"The police told me I did a good job," said the elder Canoles. He said deputies did not question him on the night of the incident.

But the gun-toting father and son were arrested Monday night and have been charged with aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal trespassing. "We are on the ground floor with this as far looking into exactly what occurred and why it occurred," a sheriff's spokesman said.

On Monday, the Kalonjis met with their attorney, as well as with the sheriff's office. "They just spontaneously arrested him, arrested his wife, threw them in the jail, made no phone calls, made no efforts to verify to the truthfulness of what they were saying and told the people with the guns, in essence, 'Thank you for your good service, you can go back home now,'" the Kalonji's attorney said to WSBTV.

But the Kalonjis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that they have reservations about the new home. "We're waiting to move," their son Bruno said. "We're still afraid of what the guy next door might do."

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Filed by Gene Demby  |