Homeowners find woman asleep on couch

19-year-old claims male friend left home open for her to stay

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Chancy Layton

ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. – A 19-year-old woman accused of breaking into a St. Augustine Beach home, taking a shower, changing into the homeowner's pajamas, making herself some food and falling asleep on the couch is facing charges of burglary, theft and criminal mischief.

According to the St. Augustine Beach police, Chancy Layton entered the home on Third Street around 9:30 p.m. Friday.  She told investigating officers she was told by a male friend that the house was empty and she could enter through an unlocked door on the balcony and stay there. 

Layton said when the homeowners came home about 2:30 a.m., she got scared and ran out of the home, leaving her purse and passport behind.

The homeowners were equally shocked.

"Not what I expected to see when I walked into my house. We just stood there a bit, looking at each other, like, 'What do we do?'" Cheryl Petocz said. "There was lots of bottles of wine that she drank. She was clearly not in a clear state.  I told her I was calling police. As soon as I said that, she grabbed few things and ran out the house, out the back door."

The arrest report says that when Layton was spotted by a St. Johns County deputy one block away, she was very apologetic and wished to return the clothes to the homeowner.  The report says Layton began to have trouble breathing and was transported to Flagler Hospital for treatment.  There, officers learned from Layton's mother that she was suicidal. 

Layton told officers she went to the home to "escape," be alone and not have to sleep outside.

When Layton was medically cleared at the hospital, she was booked into the St. Johns County jail. She promised to seek medical help to work on her issues, posted a $8,000 bond and was released.

Layton told police that the male friend, who she only knew as Jeremy, got to the house before she did, broke the back door, stole two bottles of wine and left the balcony door open for her to enter.

Police are now trying to find "Jeremy," who would also face charges in this case.

Petocz said they are replacing the damaged door window with something with stronger security features so this doesn't happen again.  She also said she hopes Layton gets the help she needs to turn her life around.


About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.