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DEvineWYnd
December 1, 2006, 12:09 AM
My car was broken into last night. I soppose it was bound to happen eventually in my neighborhood.

Before I begin , I'll give you a bit of backround information. I live in Northeast Philadelphia in the Frankford/Mayfair section. My house is a 3 bedroom row home with a semi-public shared back driveway where my parking space is. My neighborhood has slowly been declining in safety for some years now. (need to move as soon as $ allows)

Besides the occational gunshots or helicopters overhead my experience that caused me to get my head out of my ass and become armed , involved a man being strangled to death less than 40 feet away from my front door.



Here's how the break in unfolded:

At about 11:30 or so at night I heard my dogs (2 sheltie mixes) start to bark and a few seconds later the distinct sound of a window being shattered and some muffled cursing. As soon as it happened I could tell that it was my car or back door window because it was prettly loud.

I called 911 immediatly , the operator at least had the right information and told me not to investigate and the police were on their way. I then rushed up to my bedroom , secured my dogs , grabbed my 1911 .45 mil-spec and my surfire.

I went downstairs and checked my backdoor that faces my parking space and made sure it was still locked. I peeked out of the window on the door and saw a man (20-25 feet away) had busted the driver side window on my Lincoln Towncar and had half of his body leaning inside the car. The guy seemed to be checking the ash trays for change/bills. This went on for a few minutes.

I checked my watch and found that it had been nearly 5 minutes since I called 911 and still no police presence. At this point the guy looked like he was gonna try and rip my stereo out. :mad: This really ****** me off now. I racked a round into the 1911 and clicked on the surefire aimed right at the guys face. He stopped what he was doing and backed out of the car so fast he smacked his head on the door/window frame.

He looked in my direction still a bit dazed/blinded from the surefire and took a few steps towards my house and pulled out a small pocket knife.

Let me stop and just say this guy HAD to be drunk , high or #$%^ING STUPID to approach my house. This scared the Sh** out of me because even though he just broke into my car he was a pretty big guy (6' 3" 230-250) and I knew I would probably have to shoot him. I took a kneeling position by my back window inside my house and leveled my 1911.

Apparently he hadn't seen the gun up until this point and it dawned on him that his organs were about to have some skylights installed. He backpedaled and ran off down the driveway onto the main street.

The police showed up about 5 minutes later and wrote up a report and I gave a description of the guy. As I was talking to one of the officers I explained that I was armed at the time. He gave me a puzzled look and was surprised that I didn't "light the guy up" (his words not mine). It's nice to know Philly's finest are on the case. :rolleyes:

I hope never to repeat anything like this , but opinions are appreciated. Could I have handled this any better?

Doug.38PR
December 1, 2006, 12:41 AM
Sorry to hear that happened. My car was broken into last Thursday here at the motel I stay at. CD changer and a lot of gun related items taken (no guns though:) )
I think you handled yourself okay. As far as your car goes, legally, if you had pulled the trigger you probably would have been in a lot of trouble because it is considered against the law to use your gun to defend property in most states. As far as I personally am concerned, I wouldn't have minded if you had "lit" the animal up. But unfortunately personal beliefs and whats on the books can often be two different things and the former can land you in jail if you aren't careful.

Personally, the first thing I would have done was not call 911 but gone outside and investigated (CAREFULLY) to see what was going on. After all was done, would I have gone and called 911 or had my wife or other relative call the police in the meantime (If I was sure it was a real problem and not just a tree limb hitting the house). Everytime we hear a suspicious noise outside at night, we go to investigate (typically with gun in hand)

As far as his approaching your house with apparent intent to break in, you did fine too. You took a defensive stance and readied for his attack. He broke off attack and was gone. Fortunately for him, he saw the gun.

Sorry that happened. Hope you can get out of there soon.

DEvineWYnd
December 1, 2006, 12:57 AM
Thanks for the input Doug , not to many tree limbs near my house though :D

Around here it's getting almost as bad as K&A in the wee hours (for those of you who know/live in Philly)

skeeter1
December 1, 2006, 01:09 AM
Well, IMHO, you did everything just right. Shooting someone for breaking into your car would have put you into a whole bunch of trouble. If your state is like mine (Ohio) you have to have insurance, and that's what it's for.

I had the neighbor's kids try to get into my house again this morning (not the first time). That's what the locked door is for. If they ever get in, then maybe (and that's a big maybe) I'll fire, but not before I call 911.

I live in a fairly good neighborhood, but parental inattention to the kids has made it not the place it used to be.

DEvineWYnd
December 1, 2006, 01:13 AM
How old are the "kids" trying to get in your house?

Are we talking pre high school rug rats or is it you neighbors out of work 30yr old son taking beers out of your fridge saying "hey bro , I didn't think you would mind." :p

skeeter1
December 1, 2006, 02:47 AM
No. At this point they're ages 8 and 10, I think. They get chided on by the 14 year old living across the street, the kid known around here as "evil chucky."

It was so much better when I moved in here many years ago and got to watch some sweet young ladies grow up. I guess those days are over.

kc-griz
December 1, 2006, 09:39 AM
Sorry to hear about your car getting broke into. I've had 2 of mine broke into and it really hacked me off.

Although you would not have been justified in shooting the guy for breaking into your car, you would likely have been justified when he approached you with knife in hand. Your life was in imminent danger at that point. With that said, you would have likely had to hire an attorney, go to court, defend your actions and probably would have had a civil suit brought against you by the POS burglar. Long story short, it would have cost you alot more money than the loss in damages to your car which is a travesty of justice IMO.

I would have loved to catch the guy who ripped out my dash for my stereo... preferrably with the barrel of my 12ga pressed to the back of his skull. That incident is why I no longer buy aftermarket stereos for my vehicles. The nice sound ain't worth the risk that someone else wants enough to destroy your property to get it.

DesertShooter
December 1, 2006, 10:44 AM
Sounds like you did all the right things! By confronting the suspect when you did, it diverted his attention from causing more damage to your car, and by NOT shooting him when he fled, you saved yourself a lot of grief and $$$$!

I don't know if I would have allowed the suspect to run away, but that's just ME! I'm 6'5" tall and weigh 230 pounds. I'm also a retired LEO, so I probably would have used the old "command presence" voice to try to get him to drop the knife AND prone out until the police arrived. I'm not trying to sound "macho", just fed up with thugs, punks and criminals after 31 years of dealing with them as a LEO.

Think about having a can of "pepper spray" on-hand. Heck, a can of hair spray also works to temporarily blind someone! I once investigated a residential burglary where the owner scared off the suspect....but the owner "armed" himself with a can of red spray paint, and was able to spray it on the suspect! My partner and I caught the suspect....not "red-handed", but red FACED!

Just don't be foolish by trying to run after the suspect. You are alone, and the suspect MAY have a look-out around the corner. Just try to get as detailed a description of the suspect as possible.

Lastly, you might live longer if you go into debt and buy a home in a nicer area! Try to find a community that doesn't have helicopters flying overhead all the time, and find a home with a garage!

GeorgeF
December 1, 2006, 11:58 AM
First, get out of Mayfair! I grew up in Fox Chase, near Montgomery County border, but used to work at Roosevelt Mall as a teen. Buddy of mine grew up in Mayfair at the time. It certainly hasnt gotten better and probably worse.

He has a great story about living there. Single mom with two boys (him being about 22 at the time and brother being 24). House was broken into in middle of day (rear door left unlocked) while no one home and baddie rummaged through secretary desk at bottom of stairs and took money from there. Nothing else gone thankfully.

Few weeks later my buddy is home. He worked for IRS as Security Guard at time and had night shift work. Guy comes to front door and knocks on door - buddy looks (out of sight of guy) and sees its a guy he doesnt know. Guy then proceeds to try the front door handle (locked). At this point buddy goes upstairs and retrieves his Makarov, calls the police that someone is trying to get in his house and sits at top of steps.

Guy then goes to rear of house and re-does the whole 'knock and then try the handle thing' thing. Then he breaks window pane and opens back door. Wals RIGHT UP to the secretary at bottom of stairs and opens it up - so pretty good guess its the same guy. My buddy then announces himself, points gun and tells guy to freeze. Guys starts to back towards the door and buddy says 'no way - open front door and sit on front steps.'

Cops show up 10 minutes later and arrest guy and bring buddy to station for report (arresting officer got very confused when buddy told him that pistol was a Makarov 'I'm just going to put Smith&Wesson - you have any problem with that?').

Many court appearances later, guy gets slap on wrist and gets like 6 months.

Gotta love Philadelphia.

poortrader
December 1, 2006, 01:01 PM
I'm glad everything is alright. Hopefully, the same guy won't be stupid enough to come back again. I love how people, especially real estate agents, say that there are nice pockets in Phildephia. As a non-native Philadelphian, I would say that it's all bad.

I live in University City, aka West Philly. Right now we have the screwdriver mugger terrorizing college girls. I believe that crime is getting worse and not better.

We need a new mayor and a new police commissioner.

King_chin0
December 1, 2006, 01:06 PM
Sorry for the misfortunate event.

IMHO, I think you have handled the situation quit well. You were calm not to just go out side and start "lighting" him up with rounds after rounds(like the NYPD:eek: which missed more than half the shots, I'm sure you can do better then that:D ). I'm sorry to hear that the police officers arrived a little late.

Given if I were in your position, I would have shot at his legs when he tried to reach in his pocket. I have heard incidents where the BG reached into his pocket and starts firing thru their clothinging aiming at the victim. Luckily a broken window is replaceble, but time is not. Given if you had shot the BG, you might have to go to court, and all that, which will waste alot of your precious time.

On the heads up, you might want to keep an eye out, and watch your back, because the BG you confronted is not behind bars, or six feet under, so he might try to retaliate on you for confronting him.

Be careful, you have handled the situation well.

OuTcAsT
December 1, 2006, 01:32 PM
There are two distinct ways to handle such a situation,

First, the WRONG way:

Personally, the first thing I would have done was not call 911 but gone outside and investigated (CAREFULLY) to see what was going on. After all was done, would I have gone and called 911 or had my wife or other relative call the police in the meantime (If I was sure it was a real problem and not just a tree limb hitting the house). Everytime we hear a suspicious noise outside at night, we go to investigate (typically with gun in hand)



Then the more intelligent way:

I called 911 immediatly , the operator at least had the right information and told me not to investigate and the police were on their way. I then rushed up to my bedroom , secured my dogs , grabbed my 1911 .45 mil-spec and my surfire.



I took a kneeling position by my back window inside my house and leveled my 1911

You called 911, had the right defensive tools readily available, stayed INSIDE your home, took up a defensive posture, and were prepared to fire if need be, and survived. I think you did just fine.

glock19xdsc
December 1, 2006, 06:51 PM
Poortrader,

FYI, There are now two BG's terrorizing that neighborhood, the screwdriver mugger and another armed male who continues beyond the mugging to sexual molestation. There was a flyer being circulated around UPENN today.

Regards

DEvineWYnd
December 1, 2006, 09:10 PM
My sister just happens to live in the university city area , as of last month I had my Bersa .380 with extended mag transferred to her. :(

Dwight55
December 1, 2006, 11:28 PM
You did just right, . . . 911 on the phone, FIRST, . . . confront the dude to keep overall damage to a minimum, . . . have proper tools ready, available, and in the mindset to use them should the need arise.

It's a shame you didn't have 110 lbs of snarling German Shepherd (or at least a recording of one) to aid in the confrontation. :D

May God bless,
Dwight

King_chin0
December 2, 2006, 01:44 AM
Yes definately letting a dog loose on him would be a first choice for me. a 100lbs Rottweiler can do come damage haha.

Pucker
December 2, 2006, 02:48 AM
I'm sorry but when he pulled the knife that should have been the last mistake he ever had the chance to make. I know I know, it's too easy to armchair quarterback and yada yada yada but the point is he no longer deserved to be a living breathing resident of our planet. But other than that great job.

I hate people like that being allowed to breath. Reading your story just got my blood pressure up...

Daves-got-guns
December 2, 2006, 04:32 AM
i personally think, that you NOT pulling the trigger at the first sign of a weapon is a very very good sign of self control. Honestly i would probably be so riled up at the first sign of somebody reaching for something, that i probably would have drilled him atleast once, just because its human nature to expect the worse thing to come out from behind his back, or where ever he drew from. Honestly, i think you did everything the way anybody could have hoped for, and if more people, myself included had that kind of coolheadedness, gun ownership would be damned hard to take away from anybody! Now i have never been in this type of situation, but if i am i hope i do not fire or choose to fire unless a threat is actually eminent, but nobody knows until something happens like this.

Blackwater OPS
December 2, 2006, 05:08 AM
You made the right call. You stopped him from commiting further crimes against you or your property at minimal risk to yourself physically and legally. Just remember, NEVER go outside. What you did is probably the best compromise between hiding inside and calling 911 and running out shooting.

JIH
December 2, 2006, 11:11 AM
Although you would not have been justified in shooting the guy for breaking into your car
This may be different depending on what state you're in. You can shoot in some jurisdictions for "criminial mischief" at night. Note, I'm just saying it depends on the law. I wouldn't advise it, though... it's just a car.

In my younger days, I did walk up on a car thief in flangrante and sorted him out pretty well with the door of an F-150. It was a stupid move though... he could have had a gun, knife, been a better fighter than me, or had a few buddies. The cop giggled the whole time and asked why I didn't just keep slamming it on the guy, and I was like, "dude, I'm not killing someone over my damn truck." His reply of "that's too bad" was not comforting and made me resolve to stay on the "good" side of the law.

Doug.38PR
December 4, 2006, 02:46 PM
I don't agree that not going out side a good idea. 1) it may be nothing, just a limb hitting the house or something else that goes bump in the night and you would be wasting the police's time 2) by the time they get there it will have been too late to prevent anything from happening 3) what if it is just some kids fooling around, you can catch them in the act, recognize them and report them to their parents or even the police. 4) You might be able to stop or even prevent the crime.

All that being said, YES sometimes going outside, depending on the situation, might not be advisable. I certainly don't recommend haste. I recommend caution, maybe even going outside from the alternate side of the house and coming around front in case their are waiting for you.

OuTcAsT
December 4, 2006, 03:27 PM
I don't agree that not going out side a good idea. 1) it may be nothing, just a limb hitting the house or something else that goes bump in the night

But it was not:

I went downstairs and checked my backdoor that faces my parking space and made sure it was still locked. I peeked out of the window on the door and saw a man (20-25 feet away) had busted the driver side window on my Lincoln Towncar and had half of his body leaning inside the car.

So there was absolutely no advantage to be gained by going outside the safety of his home.

by the time they get there it will have been too late to prevent anything from happening

Thats why the OP did this:


I racked a round into the 1911 and clicked on the surefire aimed right at the guys face. He stopped what he was doing and backed out of the car so fast he smacked his head on the door/window frame.


He prevented any further damage to his vehicle,still in the safety of his home.

You might be able to stop or even prevent the crime.


Clearly this crime could not be prevented as the sound of shattering glass was what alerted the OP in the first place, he did however stop the crime in progress and did not have to go outside to do so.

Doug.38PR
December 4, 2006, 06:01 PM
Outcast,
I am speaking generally at this point, not necessarily just about DevineWynd's situation. In fact, the point of his whole post was him explaining what happened and wondering if he could have done anything any different. All in all, in my opinion, it worked out alright....could have been better, could have been worse. I'm just saying I might have done it a little different by going outside. Can't say so for sure though, I wasn't there specifically in his case. But in similar situations, I say going outside to investigate or even stop it is a good idea (now you do want to be aware of what is around you and be cautious)

oldbillthundercheif
December 4, 2006, 06:25 PM
You did it right. I have people breaking into / stealing / vandalizing my car several times of year and I always react the same way you did except I usually curse loudly while hitting them with my surefire or flipping on the back floodlights (usually the floodlights so I can have the phone in one hand and iron in the other). Stay inside. Dial 911. Have a firearm ready to go in case things go sideways.

Hopefully you won't have to deal with this situation repeatedly like I do, but it's all a part of living in a wild city in my case.

Blackwater OPS
December 4, 2006, 09:03 PM
Going outside is a good way to get killed. In addition, you are walking into unknown situation. Let me give you an example I have heard before:

You hear screaming, possibly gunshots from outside. You walk out, and see a dead kid, his wounded mother, and another kid lying on the ground screaming. The from behind a wall steps a man with a rifle.

Do you shoot him?


Well if so, you just shot your other neighbor who was doing the same thing you were, that is unless he shot you first. Either way you are in a world of hurt, the bad guy is long gone, and nobody is on the phone to tell the people who get paid for this stuff what is going on.

Doug.38PR
December 4, 2006, 11:18 PM
Going outside is a good way to get killed. In addition, you are walking into unknown situation. Let me give you an example I have heard before:

You hear screaming, possibly gunshots from outside. You walk out, and see a dead kid, his wounded mother, and another kid lying on the ground screaming. The from behind a wall steps a man with a rifle.

Do you shoot him?


Right I understand your point. I agree. That's why I say be careful. Look before you leap. But I don't think that necessarily means that going outside is a bad move. For one thing, most people know their neighborhoods, they know what is outside and around their houses, they know where all the hiding spots are and dark spots and they know their neighbors. Look out the door before you rush out. Check corners as you go out the door making sure you are ready for anyone ready to grab or stab you and get into your house. Recognize your neighbors if they are the ones outside. If you see someone wielding a gun, get back in or at least to cover and assess what is going on. Be aware that the police might already be on their way.

OuTcAsT
December 5, 2006, 08:37 AM
Be aware that the police might already be on their way.

AND you might consider what will happen if they are already there...They don't always come screaming up with strobes ablazin' and park in front of the house. You do the math, crime committed + Doug lurking around corners with a weapon= Bad ju ju.

skeeter1
December 5, 2006, 02:36 PM
This might be another consideration:

My car came with a "dongle" for locking/unlocking the doors. It also has a "panic button" for setting off the horn and lights. If I were a BG, I'd get out of there in a hurry. A real alarm system is probably better, but the panic button is better than nothing. Oh, and I keep a loaded firearm in the bedroom, but it would take a lot for me take it outside.

King_chin0
December 5, 2006, 08:19 PM
Skeeter is definately right on this. About a year ago, my car was broken into, my alarm went off, I looked out the window and saw the two BG get into an older car and sped off. I called the police and inform them of the situation. Went outside with the shotgun in hand just in case they double back to examine my veichle, and saw that my window was broken but the tint held all the pieces together. I went back in the house after a few minutes and waited for the police while I was watching my car through the windows on my front door, and didn't leave the house until the police arrived. It took them around 20 minutes to get there, but over all the police was very helpful. Never arrested anyone though.

Daves-got-guns
December 6, 2006, 12:55 AM
something i forgot to mention, i had a friend a few years back, who was dating my couson. They went out to the everet mall one day in her dads 92 chevy quarter ton, rite before christmas. They had presents and Kevin went outside to have a smoke or a chew, i ferget. So he saw somebody was messing with the truck and confronted them and they said it was there truck and locked the keys in it. He said hell no buddy or something vulgar, and that it was his g/fs truck. So the guy he was talking to nailed him across the face with a tire iron or something hefty, and socked him in the mouth witch leveled him and took off running. Whats really sad about these guys is that you could have broken into that truck in less then 3 seconds by sliding the back window open with your hands. Also now couson won't goto everett without me tagging along, and im also a whole hell of alot bigger then ex b-f.

King_chin0
December 6, 2006, 02:00 AM
I don't know if size matters when you get hit in the face with a tire iron, I know I'm a pretty big guy, not tall at 5'8-5'9 250lbs, but if someone hits me in the face with a tire iron, I don't think I could've done too much, its different getting hit with a solid object then a fist. I was jumped by six guys, they gave it to me pretty good, but they could never knoch me out, kicked me in the face, punched me, and never once I lost conciousness.

AR15FAN
December 6, 2006, 09:50 AM
I believe you should stay in your house with your weapon and call the Police. That is the best way to protect yourself and family from an unknown enemy or enemies that may be armed, hidden, and have a tactical advantage on you. Remember, "fools rush in where wise men fear to tread". My experience from boards is that alot will post with bravado, but react to a real situation in a far different manner.

Daves-got-guns
December 6, 2006, 07:04 PM
yeah it busted his face up pretty good. I'd rather take a blow to the face then my couson, they cant have their way with me very well, well maybe if they just got out of prison who knows.

claude783
December 6, 2006, 07:43 PM
This is one of those situations where your not going to win. If you confront the "gremlin" and get hurt, "oh, well", however, if you confront said gremlin and "he" gets hurt, suddenly the "gremlin" will have rights, and you will be made to pay.

I guess that's why I don't buy new cars, let them add another dent or two to the old "clunker". As for my driveway, I have a CCTV with VCR hooked up. So at least, I can take their photo, do a little editing with the computer, and pass out fliers in the neighborhood.

Nothing like having 5,000 people out there with broken windows, stolen property looking for said gremlin...To bad they don't make a superglue gun in which you could "freeze" up the gremlin as he is half way in the window. Just have the police come, take the door with gremlin off the car and haul to the police station...kinda like those rat traps which "glue" the little critter's down!

King_chin0
December 6, 2006, 10:13 PM
I think I have said this numerous times. Yes, every dollar you own has blood, sweat and tears in them. Your property is hard earned, and we would hate to see some punk try to take it away from us. Property is replaceable, but a life is not. We can careless if the BG gets hurt in the process (It depends how he got hurt, the judicial system can come back and bit you in the a$$), but lets not be a victim or let our family be a victim, and think clearly and rationally, the police are there for a reason. Although many occasions, by the time the police get there, your car or the property the BG is trying to rob us of is long gone. My friends car was broken into about three weeks ago, radio was stolen out of it, thats all. Guy slim jimmed it. The bad part is, the radio doesn't even work. My friend only said one thing, "I'm sick of these MFs out here trying to steal $hit from me. I earned every dollar in my pocket, all I do is work and come home." I really feel that it is sad to know there are people out there that doesn't care about anyone else and have no remorse in taking what belongs to someone else. If they have no remorse in taking what belongs to you, they will have no remorse of hurting you either, so that is one thing to keep in mind.

Tactics and Training is an art of thinking rationally, and planning out every step and seeing every possibility and outcome, and to pick the path where it is most beneficial to us, and our safety.