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Old October 21, 2000, 03:39 AM   #1
bdog
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You are in Texas where you can legally use deadly force to protect your property during nighttime (but it is not recommended)

Your truck has been broken into twice in the last year while sitting in your driveway at night. Stereos and some cheap tools were stolen. Police reports were made but no one was caught and the property was never recovered. Each time your window was busted out and your dash ripped apart during the process. You have started leaving the porch light on all night to deter crime.

Late one night you are checking out The Firing Line with your favorite pistol by your side when you hear breaking glass out front. You grab the gun and quitely peak out the window and see one bad guy with a mask sitting in the cab of your truck trying to remove the stereo. You can't tell if he is armed or not but you know he used something to break the window so at the least his has a hammer or big rock.

What do you do?
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Old October 21, 2000, 08:07 AM   #2
twist996
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dial 911...on cordless phone...then throw phone at perp, so that operator can discuss it with him...do not fire a warning shot (illegal)...the goal is to let you thief know you're responsive and alert...try some preventative measures before this might happen again...

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Old October 21, 2000, 10:19 PM   #3
bdog
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That is definitely a good option, but what would you think about calling 911 then going out the back door, sneaking up on the guy while armed, and ordering him out of the truck on onto the ground and holding him till the cops show up? I know this is a little risky, but you would have the drop on him, and this way he waould end up getting arrested for the crime he is commiting?
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Old October 22, 2000, 01:50 AM   #4
racegunner
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Repeat criminal returns to scene 3 times? Pretty stupid. Must be a neighbor's kid. More of a pain than a threat to life. But then if it were my truck...pop, pop and bury the little bastard. Okay, not really. Hold him for police AFTER checking area first for his buddies...

[This message has been edited by racegunner (edited October 22, 2000).]
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Old October 22, 2000, 10:58 AM   #5
Correia
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This exact scenario happened to one of our moderators, I'm sure he will jump in if he wants to share it again.

Dial 911, grab my Social Occasions gun, get behind whatever cover I have availible and let him know that he needs to get the hell out of my truck and lie on the ground with his hands behind his head.

If my wife was home, I'm sure that she would also arm herself and seek cover.

Responses from that point depend on the actions of the perp.

For people who say that they would just leave him alone because mere possesions are not worth getting involved, Screw That! I spend most of my life working at a job that I don't really enjoy so I can have money to buy stuff like that. When some scumbag is taking things from me, he is taking hours and hours of my life away from me!

Thanks to ctdonath for articulating that argument in a earlier post.
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Old October 22, 2000, 08:57 PM   #6
M1911
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Well, I live near Boston. Use of deadly force to protect property is strictly verboten in MA. Also, the bedroom suburb I live in has excellent police response (less than 2 minutes the last time I called for an alarm going off).

I'd grab my pistol, call 911, turn on outside lights, but STAY INSIDE. Yes, you might be able to go outside and get the drop on Mr. Bad Guy. But did you see his buddy who was backing him up for just such an eventuality?

M1911

[This message has been edited by M1911 (edited October 23, 2000).]
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Old October 23, 2000, 09:06 AM   #7
tprT
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What does "getting the drop" on somebody have to do with anything? Many people have died after "getting the drop on the bad guy."
It all comes down to - does the risk (physically, criminally) justify the reward (keeping your stuff, catching and punishing the bad guy)?
Say for instance you confront him, he hops out of your truck with a black shiny object in his hand and you feel you are in danger. You shoot and kill him, 45 seconds later the police pull up. Turns out it is your neighbor's 17 year old kid with your car stereo in his hand. Maybe he was the one that had broken into your truck the other 3 or 4 times. Legally you were justified in protecting your property, you truly believed you were in danger. Was it worth it to shoot him? Guess it's a personal decision only that person can make.
Say it is the same neighbor's kid. You come out of your house carrying your new car stereo you are going to install. He approaches you and waves a knife at you and says "Give me the radio or I'll kill you!" Now it's about a whole lot more than your stereo.

T

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Old October 23, 2000, 11:55 AM   #8
guerilla1138
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not sure what i would do in that exact situation.

out here on the ranch, if there was some guy sitting in my truck taking out my stereo or whatever, i would get my winchester model 94 lever action 30.30, which i can work faster than any pump shotgun, and my pistol, then slowly move out the front door, and around the house to engage the bad guy(BG).
get him out of my truck and laying on the ground, check him for weapons. stand him up and rap him across the chin with the butt of the rifle to knock him out, would whack him more than once if needed.
then after i had tied him up would seriously wonder who in the hell would ever know if i just hsot him and buryed him out here this far from town.
after i got those notions out of my head i would call the sherrifs office, and tell them what the deal was and that if they wouldnt come get him i would haul him in.

assuming they wont come the 50 miles out to get him at 2:30 AM then i would just tie him up tighter in the back of my pick up, and let him bang around back there with the heavy tow chain, shovel, locked tool boxes .ect till we were at the cop shop.
then its their problem.

and "no officer he had those bruises and cuts what i made my citizens arrest."
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Old October 23, 2000, 01:54 PM   #9
bdog
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Getting the drop on him has everything to do with it. Action is faster than reaction. If he saw me walking out the front door he could get his weapon in the ready position (assuming it is a gun) and shoot me before I can think about anything else. On the other hand if I sneak around back, I have the element of surprise, and could from behind cover and weapon pointed at him order him out of the vehicle and on to the ground.

I fully agree that a stereo is not worth taking someones life over, but I was thinking more of apprehending the criminal and holding him for the police to take when they arrive. But you have to consider that he might not cooperate when you are trying to apprehend him and you might be forced to use deadly force.
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Old October 23, 2000, 01:55 PM   #10
Cheapo
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I agree with the first step being to call 911.

Looks like everyone forgot to give the LEOs your OWN physical description, including your clothes. Depending on local climate, you may or may not wish to tell them that you, the good-guy homeowner and crime victim, are armed. Describe the BG as much as possible as well.

Portable phone is good. Keep it with you. Keep the line open if they let you.

I would choose the best-situated doorway or sliding window, and give the command to "Freeze, I have a gun." Assess compliance. If he tries to flee, shoot only if his exit from the truck takes him/her/it towards my position.

If compliant, order him to place his hands on the steering wheel and stay put.

I would probably wait to give the first verbal command until a minute or two after dialing 911. Wait for a time when his/her/its head is in sight. At any of these times, the perpetrator may be about to leave. The rationale for the command is to effect a citizen's arrest and detain the perp.

I would also stay 3 or more feet away from the door or window at all times. Most residential walls and especially doors provide only concealment and no cover. Watch the perp's eyes for attempts to contact accomplices. Command the perp to keep eyes forward. If you command him to keep his eyes down, you will lose the intelligence value of seeing something catch his eye!

I would also douse all lights inside and any outside which could silhouette me, as I have done in previous night-noise investigations.
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Old October 23, 2000, 02:31 PM   #11
M1911
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Personally, I would stay warm and dry (and safe) inside my house.

For those of you who would leave your house and challenge the guy at gunpoint, what are you going to do if he runs away? Shoot him in the back?

M1911
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Old October 23, 2000, 02:35 PM   #12
bdog
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No I wouldn't shoot him in the back, but I bet he would mess his pants and would not be burglarizing me or anyone else anytime soon.
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Old October 23, 2000, 02:50 PM   #13
RH
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has anyone thought of the simple solution of:
- installing outward-facing motion sensor floodlights in your driveway (cheap, effective, and a no-brainer if you own a home)
- installing a car alarm with red light 'armed' indicator(again - cheap, some are one-wire installs that anyone can do) Arguably effective, but I don't think many car-stereo theives would risk setting off an alarm IN YOUR DRIVEWAY. For extra fun, install an extra siren INSIDE the car. Makes stereo removal a little difficult to concentrate on.

Some folks are way too anxious to go charging into the night with guns blazing. In that scenario, you are taking yourself from a position of safety (inside your own home) and putting yourself in harm's way. Not to mention the potential legal pitfalls. Think of it this way, a COP wouldn't even pull his gun to prevent a car stereo thief from escaping, how would they veiw YOU when you do that ?
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Old October 23, 2000, 03:18 PM   #14
bdog
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Good points RH. I have installed motion sensing lights. I have an alarm but it is broken. I guess I should see about getting it fixed.
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Old October 23, 2000, 06:28 PM   #15
tprT
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"Getting the drop on him has everything to do with it. Action is faster than reaction."


Getting the drop on somebody is an expression. It means the advantage. It doesn't mean you automatically win the situation. Sure you want to use surprise, and action IS quicker than reaction. But reaction can be deadly too. Getting killed for my car stereo? No thanks. I am an LEO and I would still stay in my house until "on duty" police officers get there. If this person decides he wants to come in my house before then...well that's a different story.

T

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Old October 23, 2000, 09:27 PM   #16
Nevada Fitch
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well, I have had a couple of mexican standoffs in the past the first when I was about twenty and a little too brave and dumb for my own good,nobody got shot so I guess every one was a winner,except the other guy did get a ticket for tresspassing though.the other time it scares me to think what would could have happened had I not had a lightweight commander in my waist band.my whole family was with me we were on a trip.I had nowhere to run, the guy never saw my gun but he knew I had it.my body language give me away.I was ready and he knew it.I felt calm at the time but very nervious later.He backed off and left.I did not call the police.Back to the siduation at hand,I live in a rural area and I am not sure how long it would take the cops to get there.But I know this, It is a matter of principal with me I would confront the guy. And right or wrong It will be his choice after that.
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Old October 23, 2000, 10:13 PM   #17
tprT
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" It is a matter of principal with me I would confront the guy."

I can understand it being about principal. But not over the theft of a car radio. The minute somebody threatens me, my family or another, they are trying to take more than my property.
Look at it from another point of view. It's your 15 year old kid stealing somebody's radio. You know he's a decent kid, good grades, good athlete and headed for a decent college in a few years. He and some friends have been stealing from cars for a couple of weeks just for kicks (I see it all the time). But tonight he picks the car of a person who catches him and decides to confront him with a handgun. In your son's haste to run away this person feels his life is in danger and kills him by shooting him. Do you think you would feel the same way? Hey that guy had the right as a matter of principal to point that gun at my son. Or, I know what he was trying to do...he just wanted to make my son mess his pants..you know, teach him a lesson and turn him over to the police.
The neighbor may have been justified legally, but wouldn't you say "well yeah but you could have called the police and waited for them to come and my son would be alive today!"?
Deadly force is to be used to protect yourself or another from death or serious injury, threatened or attempted. Not to stop the theft of you car stereo.


T

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If not you, then who?

[This message has been edited by tprT (edited October 23, 2000).]
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Old October 23, 2000, 11:41 PM   #18
tstr
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Am I in the city or out in the country?

In the country I'd get myself a mean dog and post him next to the truck at night.

In the city, I'd get a car alarm and have a camera with a telephoto lens and a hardcore flash sitting by the window. If the alarm didn't scare him off, then I'd take his picture while yelling, "Get away from my car." (probably ad a few emphatic explicatives in there somewhere.) That'd pretty surely do it. I'd then give his picture to the police.

A gun is a bad idea in this situation I think. (Unless he actually attacks which is very unlikly for this type of theft which is usually perpetrated by kids.)

Tstr

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Old October 23, 2000, 11:50 PM   #19
Art Eatman
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In Texas, a Citizen's Arrest is legal under the described circumstances.

If you see that a person is armed, and he runs away, Texas Law states that deadly force may be used if the fleeing person can be considered a threat to others of the community. Shooting such a person in the back is legal. Granted, you may have a certain amount of difficulty proving your case, but that's an issue of credibility, not the law itself.

At any rate, if your are certain of your capabilities, there is no reason not to take the person in custody for the police.

Art
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Old October 24, 2000, 06:52 AM   #20
Joe Demko
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I believe I would get one of those OC cannisters that triggers like an alarm system and install it in my truck. I think it is called "The Terminator" or something like that. Can be triggered by trip wire or wired electronically.
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Old October 24, 2000, 10:13 AM   #21
LASur5r
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I personally like that Australian anti-theft device...I think it was 60,000 volt charge when the goblin sat in the driver's seat and touched the ignition without the proper pass key.
From the commercial (spoof) that I saw, you just run a vacuum cleaner over the burn area.

I did meet a little old lady who was tired of the attempts on stealing her car, so she hooked 110 house voltage direct from an outlet to her car door handle...sad thing was her dog died from the electrocution when she went outside and the dog touched the car door waiting for her to get into the car.

Met another guy who put a snake (non-lethal) inside his car...stopped the break-ins after first try.
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Old October 24, 2000, 11:36 PM   #22
Nevada Fitch
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Tprt, first of all It won't be my son because I raised him to know better.And no I woudn't shoot someone in the back as they were running away.But people have no business stealing either.If you are going to steal and someone shoots you for it than you probably had it comming.also when people just lay down and let other people violate them and their property You are just encourging them to keep doing it,and I think that is what is wrong with the world today.fortunatly I live where there are more guns than people in most homes and I can leave my keys In my truck and my four wheeler on the back porch with out having to worry thankgoodness.
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Old October 25, 2000, 12:33 AM   #23
tprT
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Nevada,

"first of all It won't be my son because I raised him to know better."

Not saying your kid is bad but...heard that song before. Remember what would have happened if the police brought you home when you were young? Believe me times have changed. Now it's rare when I talk to parents and they say "Don't worry trooper we'll take care of it!" It's always..."not my kid. He knows better."


"And no I woudn't shoot someone in the back as they were running away."

That wasn't me that said anything about shooting in the back(however...under the right circumstances it could be legally justified).

" if you are going to steal and someone shoots you for it than you probably had it comming."

Agreed. If I steal something, I do. But that's my value system. That's not the law.


"also when people just lay down and let other people violate them and their property You are just encourging them to keep doing it,and I think that is what is wrong with the world today."

I didn't say this doesn't deserve punishment...trust me I believe it does. This thread is about confronting a radio thief in the middle of the night with a gun and the subsequent possible consequences. My opinion is the legal, moral and civil risk far outweighs the possible good that can come from stopping a radio thief in the act.

"fortunatly I live where there are more guns than people in most homes and I can leave my keys In my truck and my four wheeler on the back porch with out having to worry thankgoodness."

What you should say is thankgoodness I haven't lost my property yet.
Do you have any idea how many burglaries to houses of people who said the same thing I've investigated?


T




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Old October 25, 2000, 07:26 AM   #24
Joe Demko
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Something all of us need to keep in mind during threads like this is to not get too caught up in our own rhetoric. It is not our job as armed citizens to punish wrongdoers, any more than it is the job of the police to do so. You have the right to defend the yourself and your loved ones, and to a lesser extent your belongings. That's all.
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Old October 25, 2000, 06:12 PM   #25
Nevada Fitch
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tprT, you are right and I basically agree with you,that is the law.I have a ccw and out in the public I would do exactly as you say.the last thing I want to do is get in a shooting scrape and I know I would end up loosing even if I was dead to right legally.But just the same I dont think I could stay in my house and let someone violate my property right in front of my eyes without doing something,Just like there is no way I would travel in a car across this great country of ours without a gun for protection.I would try to obey the law as closely as possible but I dont think I could leave home without one on a long trip,And If my famliy was traveling with me I am dead certain of it.
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