ATLANTA - Thanks to some quick thinking by seventh grader Kenyatta Cosby and his mom, a gang of home invaders were surprised in the act early Thursday morning.
Shereka Austin told 11Alive News three armed men broke open the front door of her Southwest Atlanta home just after midnight, yanked her out of bed, duct taped and beat her, while demanding cash.
"You got the money; where's the money in here?" she quoted them yelling at her.
Then she said they added, "If you don't tell us where's the money, you're gonna die!"
After first denying she had any, Austin gave the men $500 she'd set aside for utility bills.
When they demanded even more, she stalled them by claiming she had some cash buried in the wall of a bedroom.
She hoped while they wasted time digging, her 12-year-old son, Kenyatta, would call police from his room upstairs.
Her ploy worked.
Kenyatta was in an upstairs bedroom with family friend Richard Kinney, who heard and saw what was happening downstairs.
He handed Kenyatta a cell phone, told him to hide and call 911.
"He crawled in the crawl space in the attic," Kinney said.
"I used this phone right here and then I just ran in the attic and called the police 'cause I didn't know what to do," the youngster told 11 Alive.
He stayed on the phone with dispatchers until Atlanta Police showed up, surprising the robbing crew.
The three gunmen fled, leaving behind most of the cash, a pistol and an assault rifle in the back yard.
One escaped on foot and the other two in separate getaway cars.
After a chase, police and state troopers stopped one of the cars near Fairburn, arresting driver Minerva Riche.
She's now charged with aggravated assault, burglary, false imprisonment, robbery, reckless driving and attempting to elude police.Riche waived her first court appearance Friday morning and is now due to appear in court on Nov. 2.
The three gunmen haven't been caught yet.
Shereka Austin said she didn't recognize any of the home invaders, but wonders if they could have been some of the strangers who showed up for a big birthday party at her house last Saturday.
She considers her son a hero for busting up the crime.
"If it wasn't for him...he saved our lives," she said.
When asked if he'd like some kind of award, Kenyatta Cosby said he'd like to meet Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
11Alive is working with the mayor's office to try and make that happen.