As a code compliance officer for Columbia County, Ga., Jimmy Vowell was dedicated to making sure every ticket got served.
That dedication lost him his job. Vowell broke into the home of a woman in Martinez, Ga., in the early morning hours of July 2 to ticket a woman for having overgrown grass.
Erica Masters, who caught the whole incident on tape, said Vowell let him himself into her home without permission.
"[He actually came through the house and into my bedroom. And yelled at me to wake me up, to let me know that I needed to come back outside and sign the violation notice," she told WJBF-TV.
Naturally, she was freaked out.
"I woke up, I didn't have my glasses on or my contacts in and all I see is this big burly figure standing in my doorway," she told the station. "A big huge guy with a grey shirt. It scared the mess out of me."
At first, Vowell denied entering Masters’ home, not realizing she had surveillance cameras. He told officials he smelled something coming from the house and called out several times, according to The Columbia County News-Times.
He also claimed that the front door swung open when he knocked, and that's when he entered.
Masters said that she called 911, but when the dispatcher learned that the man inside her home was a county employee, the call was transferred to Vowell’s supervisor and no deputy was sent to the home.
But Vowell's boss, County Development Services Division Director Richard Harmon, admitted that his actions were -- literally -- unwarranted.
“It was a violation of policy as it relates to entering a house without permission and making a false statement to a supervisor,” he told the New York Daily News.
Vowell is not facing criminal charges for his overzealous behavior because sheriff’s investigators found no criminal intent, but the incident has permanently changed the lives of both Vowell and Masters.
Vowell was fired from his position, though he can appeal the decision, according to WJBF-TV, and Masters now plans to seek civil action and move from the county as a result of the incident, The Columbia County News-Times reported.
She also plans to get her lawnmower fixed.
"I do understand that my yard needs to be cut. I understand that. I have no problem with that," she told WJBF-TV. "I understand them having to serve a violation notice, but the way they handled it was completely unacceptable."