'Cooking crook' breaks into Union County home, whips up meal

Two women returned home Tuesday afternoon to find their front door ajar and a burglar inside their kitchen cooking food. 

Rusty Lee Pope, 46, has been arrested and charged with breaking and entering, and injury to personal property. 

The break-in happened around 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14. at a home in the 1900 block of Gables Drive in Monroe. According to the Union County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Eddie Cathey was on Lancaster Highway when he heard a call for service about a residential burglary in progress.

Realizing he was less than three miles away, Sheriff Cathey activated his blue lights and siren and quickly responded to Gables Drive.

Once at the house, two women told Sheriff Cathey that they had just returned home and found their front door window broken, and the door ajar. They said a man, unknown to them, had broken into the house and was in the kitchen cooking food. 

Sheriff Cathey said the man, identified as Pope, had what appeared to be dried blood on his hand and a strong odor of alcohol.  He was taken into custody without incident. 

Pope is currently being held at the Union County Jail.