View Full Version : Home Intruder Makes Himself At Home Before Threatening Couple

Bartholomew Roberts
March 1, 2012, 09:58 AM
KSL in Utah is reporting (http://www.ksl.com/?sid=19419913) that a local man shot a home intruder, Apparently, the intruder checked around 20 homes and vehicles in the neighborhood (police found his footprints) and then entered the unlocked back door of the home in question.

After entering, he changed out of his wet clothes and into some of the resident's clothes, made himself a snack, and then went upstairs into the bedroom of the homeowner, threatened him with a gun, and demanded the man and his wife get thier wallet and keys and drive him to an ATM. Instead, the homeowner retrieved his own gun and fatally shot the intruder.

I thought this might be an interesting discussion; because it starts from a worst-case scenario and the type of scenario people often envision in their planning - the bad guy is in the bedroom with you and making threats before you even know there is a problem. Despite starting from WAY behind the curve, the homeowner was able to come out successful.

More importantly, I thought it would offer some opportunities to talk about HOW the homeowner got so far behind the curve and the various steps he could have taken to give himself more time to react. Obviously the first one is to lock the back door; but everyone slips up now and then.

Something like motion activated night lights in the hallways or main rooms might have helped indicate they had a problem while the intruder was busy changing clothes and having a bite to eat. Dogs would be a another great alarm system in this case that would work even with the back door unlocked.

March 1, 2012, 10:05 AM
My first though is that it can be be beneficial to have guns in different places.

This is one of those cases where the assailant got the drop on the victims. In this situation, if you have a gun on your night stand - it might not be the best decision to try to grab it. Because the assailant actually has already told you that you're at least going to live long enough to dress and drive to an ATM.

Having an accesable gun in your closet seems to be a great option.

The story isn't clear where the homeowner retreived his gun from but anyway those were my thoughts.

March 1, 2012, 10:17 AM
First off the guy needs to lock his door. I believe that good quality locks, doors, and an alarm system are a good first step. These items will not absolutely keep someone out, but they do two things. First, they may cause the potential intruder to simply look for an easier target the guy apparently checked twenty homes before settling on the one with an unlocked door. Secondly, they give you a little bit of warning that something is up.

March 1, 2012, 10:47 AM
This is why I sleep with a holstered gun, under the blankets every night. Even if I take a nap in the recliner, a gun is on my lap. Too old to fight but can still double-tap into a life size target pretty accurately at 30 ft.

March 1, 2012, 10:55 AM
I teach my staff to lock the cash drawer when they are away from the desk, not because the drawer lock is all that difficult to break, but because a thief takes up time and makes noise to break through it. In the same way, we make ourselves less vulnerable when we slow down potential invaders of our home and cause them to do something that attracts the attention of residents or folks nearby. Locks, lights, barking dogs, etc. are not absolute stoppers, but they might make someone pick an easier target. If this story is correct in its details, 19 other targets were found to be unsatisfactory before the BG found this one extremely soft target that he was willing to exploit because there was no time involved in turning an unlocked doorknob and no risk of detection from the noise breaking glass or wood, a barking dog, or an alarm.

Lots of other factors come into play before our hobby of firearms.

March 1, 2012, 11:04 AM
Yup, best idea is to deter somebody from coming in your house in the first place. If you're willing to stash guns all over the house in case somebody breaks in, but unwilling to do anything to deter a break-in, there's something wrong with your reasoning.

There are many levels of home security. My advice is by no means complete, but the average person could decide that one of these levels is enough for him. The "basics" will be enough to deter 99.9% of walk-by criminals like the one in this story. Anybody who chooses your home specifically despite you doing everything in the "basics" has probably cased your home and/or has prior knowledge of something valuable in there he specifically wants... another reason to to brag about how many guns you own.

Locks on your gates.
Deadbolts on all exterior doors.
ADT sign on the lawn.
Dowels in each window.
Security warning sticker on every window and door.
Doghouse, a few chewtoys, and water bowl in the backyard (even if you don't have a dog). "ZEUS" written on doghouse FTW!
Back porch motion detector.

Basic motion detection system house alarm, ADT or similar.
Motion detection lights all around house.
Jack Russel Terrier.

Advanced (including all of the above):
Standalone multi-camera day/night DVR, UPS backup, online.
German Shepard.

March 1, 2012, 11:09 AM
I agree. Leaving doors unlocked may be fine in your neighborhood 8 or 9/10 but why take that risk? Always deadbolt and always make sure everything is locked and secured before bedtime.

It doesn't hurt that I have Achilles who barks if anybody even steps close to my property. He is a 60 lb Aussie though so he is only a detection helper.... Although I taught him the difference between invited guests and strangers so I have no idea how he would react with somebody forcibly breaking in the place while I was sleeping. I'd rather never find that one out....

March 1, 2012, 11:10 AM
My first though is that it can be be beneficial to have guns in different places.

Or keep ONE in your pocket. That way there is only one gun and only you have access to it.

March 1, 2012, 11:15 AM
Obviously locking the door would have been the solution. Keeping weapons accesable in various parts of the home is a good plan, if you have built in plans to access the weapon, secure the family, and have contact capabilty (cell or home phones) in those hard points.

For my own home, I center on my sons room for a defensive hard point. Im pretty confadent that to enter my home, youd have to make enough noise to wake us. I keep a carbine, cell phone, and first aide kit (on my range bag/tac vest) with the plan being, I can watch the stairs (only access to our sleeping area) while gathering my daughter and falling back to his room. At that point I can call the police and maintain control of the stairs from cover with the family, from a solid tactical advantage. I have double exterior doors on the front because of a boxed in porch, nstalled blind dead bolts at 2 points on the back door, and the basement door is dead bolted as well. None of those features will prevent or stop an intruder but would hopefully discourage one, and would deffintly slow one down, and would cause a lot of noise getting through.

Dogs are a fantastic tactical solution. They make noise, they pay attention, they wont malfunction, they dont have a safety lever, and good ones will go hunting and fishing with you anytime, and never complain about getting up early. My daughters shoot with me, but when they leave for collage, they will be takeing medium sized mutts they will pound rescue. Make a dog part of the family and treat him good, play with him, and he will defend you like a member of the family.

If you decide that multiple weapons accesable in the home is something you want to do, haveing a small to medium handgun near the front door is my second need. I like haveing something in hand but in a non presented or threatning way if you get the odd or weird nighttime knock on the door. Anwser it with a sweatshirt (my norm ask evening or home time attire) and it can be concealed while in hand should a sudden threat arise. 99 out of a hundred times it wont so no need to scare the crap out of anyone, but need need to give up an advantage either. Some of my friends stop by late for various reasons and arent suprised or offended when I recognize them, invite them in, and then put the pistol back in its hiding place.

The biggest concern there is how well the other weapons are hiden and what kind of access controls are used. Mine is a simple wooden box with a lock, and hooks for.keys underneath. Keeps my house and car keys from getting lost to lol.

March 1, 2012, 11:24 AM
I cannot think of any location in the world where I would go to bed without checking to make sure the doors are locked,outside of sleeping in a tent.

March 1, 2012, 11:57 AM
I cannot think of any location in the world where I would go to bed without checking to make sure the doors are locked,outside of sleeping in a tent.

Come to Wyoming.

Years ago I replaced the doors in my house. My wife and neighbor got to laughing at me.

They discovered, about two weeks after I replaced the door that I had the locks reversed, meaning I could lock myself in, but couldn't lock my self out.

March 1, 2012, 01:18 PM
Rule #1 Lock the DOOR

Good that the homeowner shot the bad guy but if his door had been locked this guy would have probably just gone onto another house.

Having a dog is not a bad idea too, they can (if properly trained or just annoying) bark to alert that someone is in the home/yard.

Another security feature that is not mentioned in the article are motion trigger exterior lights. They are a MUST have for any property with a yard, be it 10ft or 10 acres.

March 1, 2012, 01:35 PM
1. Lock your gates if you have them.

2. Install and turn on motion sensitive lighting outside your house at all corners to provide 360 degree lighting.

3. Install security doors on all external doors and lock them with a good deadbolt.

4. Install a good sturdy chain lock too. Slows them down a bit.

5. Install alarms on all doors and windows. Arm the alarms at night when you go to bed.

6. Get a dog or two. Doesn't matter about size as long as they'll bark at strangers. During the day it'll be to announce someone's here. At night they're your early warning system. I prefer big dogs - at least the sight of a big dog barking and growling will deter some crooks. If the sight of them doesn't the attack that follows after the display of threat will deter most of them.

7. Those who get past all that will meet me with a 12ga. in my hands and my wife several paces behind me with the AR in her hands.

8. NO guns stashed in various places in the house. The only loaded guns in the house are where I can get to them from my bed. Put a loaded gun elsewhere in the house and you're basically setting yourself up to look down the barrel of your own gun(s).

March 1, 2012, 02:11 PM
I went out to get the mail yesterday. There was a bill in there that bothered me and I was reading it while coming back in.

I went upstairs to do some things, about 2 hours later I come back down to find my front door wide open.

If I don't lock my front door the wind can blow it open.

It says the couple thought the door was locked.

It's one thing to say "keep your doors locked" But unless you institute a procedure where you actually go and check each door to make sure it's locked - every night, it's inevitable that you'll leave one unlocked one night. A better alternative is an electronic system that verfies that the locks are activated / or they are in the locked position. (different from monitoring whether a door or window is open or closed).

March 1, 2012, 02:20 PM
On the other hand the intruder was decently clothed and decently fed before he was decently shot, apologies to "Outlaw Josey Wales".

March 1, 2012, 02:26 PM
Mistakes are easilly made. I have a routine I follow, before I go upstairs to bed, even if anyone else is still up downstairs, I check that all doors and windows are locked. But I awoke one morning to find my sliding glass door was unlocked and with the security bar removed. Only then did I vaguely recall getting up at 0300 to let a wining dog outside to relieve an upset stomach. In my sleepy state I neglected to secure the sliding glass door before going back to bed.

Post here all you want about your plans and intentions but don't think for a second you are infallible. This is not directed at anyone, just a public service announcement in a related thread.

March 1, 2012, 03:45 PM
^ I agree, and I think that only some kind of automated system which monitors and alerts is going to approach 99.99% reliability.

But when I think of spending the money on a good security system versus that new pistol I want... I can't spend the money on the security system. :D

March 1, 2012, 04:00 PM
Jeez, how long do you have to live at a place in Utah before you establish "residency". He was there so long you can barely call him an intruder.

I don't think motion activated lights would accomplish much here. Outside the house are they really going to deter a guy who was comfortable enough to get nice and comfy and have lunch? Inside the house are they going to wake someone who isn't awakened when a complete stranger moves in?

My alarm won't work unless the doors are secured. So if I forget to lock I have no alarm.

A nice alert dog would seem like the failsafe that might've made a difference here. But if your dog is too alert you start to ignore him when he starts barking. My old dog would bark if my neighbor went out his front door across the street after dark. My wife's new dog won't bark unless someone comes in the bedroom. Then he even barks at me.

March 1, 2012, 09:02 PM
Probably people have as strong opinions about dogs as they do about guns, but IMO, you have to get the right breed of dog.

That woman in Texas last month had a mastiff and some little white foofy dog like a Bichon Freise.

The burglars put the mastiff in the bathroom and they put the foofy dog in the clothes washer.

My middle daughter is alergic to dogs or I'd have a German Shepherd.

March 1, 2012, 11:18 PM
@ Count: They do have those hypo-alergenic dogs like our President currently has. I am sure with the time and training you could make it workable. Once I have a place with a yard again, purchase #1 is going to be a German Shepard or maybe one of those Australian sheep dogs. My boss has a golden lab, you can't get within 100 feet of his house without the dog going nuts barking; he trained it from a puppy so the dog is a pretty damn good "Alert" dog.

March 2, 2012, 07:31 AM
I can't remember when I've locked the door while I'm inside. Very rural area and not a big criminal presense. Crappy looking house w/o bling. Just not a high draw place.

March 2, 2012, 08:03 AM
I always lock my door which has a deadbolt lock on it. But I do air the apartment out when the weather is nice. When I do I hope a would be intruder does not step into my apartment because when I air it out I am always facing the door armed with a S&W 625-5 Colt 45 Revolver, and
a CA Bulldog 44 Spl.

If he makes it in more than one step I think I can stop him. When I am
done airing my residence out, I lock one lock and a deadbolt lock again.
My neighbor's dog alerts me to anyone approaching. My daughter's nurse asked me if I had lock boxes when she was here, and when I informed her that I had a permit and wore my guns on me she seemed distressed.

This guy is lucky he was not injured or killed by the intruder, and very lucky that he was able to reach one of his guns before the intruder harmed him. Think of how much worse this guy's situation would have been if his gun he retrieved had been in a lock box. I doubt this intruder would have allowed him to retrieve it in that case.

March 2, 2012, 08:24 AM
I can't remember when I've locked the door while I'm inside. Very rural area and not a big criminal presence

I can't remember when I didn't lock the door. Quite rural with low crime rates here too, but why tempt fate?

I go around at night and check all the doors and windows, and turn on the alarms too.

Prevention is always better than a cure, in my book.

March 2, 2012, 10:00 AM
I'm not turning my house into a "bunker", Its too small, and the way it's laid out, there isn't the posibility of a hard "safe spot".

I'm not leaving loaded guns stashed around the house either. My grandkids stay here too much, though I'm not worried about them they have friends over all the time and I don't know them.

I live too far from town to expect help in a reasonable period of time, so alarms and "911" wont work (except to inform something is happening".

I have three dogs, two of which are Bassets, meaning they might let me know if something is a foot, but I can't expect them to do anything. If you know Bassets you know they just might sleep through the whole encounter.

If something needs done, I'll do it my self. I'll just depend on my pocket revolver, its handy with out being assessable to anyone else.

I live in a safe rural area, but I'm not so nieve that nothing could happen. Either critters or bandits.

I'm not turning my house into a prison.

March 2, 2012, 10:11 AM
"Locks, lights, barking dogs, etc. are not absolute stoppers..."

Know a certain lady that has a habit of leaving her house keys in the (outside) front door lock...really drives me nuts. People are human, Murphy rules.*

That's why there's a 1911 under the pillow. The 1911 has two excellent safetys. Rubber grips, it stays put till needed.

Good to hear the homeowner survived the deadly threat.

Check your 6, and

Sweet dreams.

*Murphy's Law: "If anything can go wrong, it will"

March 2, 2012, 10:14 AM
dogs like our President currently has.

I forget the breed of that dog but supposedly is a very trainable breed, a good protector, and totally under the radar as far as so called dangerous breeds go. Probably why they have one.

Not locking your doors and windows at night is foolhardy. If you can have a dog and make no guns accessible except to you...lock your bedroom door at night too, then who could get in and to you before you woke and armed yourself?

March 2, 2012, 10:15 AM
In the OP:

…offer some opportunities to talk about HOW the homeowner got so far behind the curve and the various steps he could have taken…

I take this as a question about a situation in which locking doors and installing motion detectors and buying a dog is too late to happen now because an intruder is standing at the foot of your bed.

Firstly, the intruder came in through a sliding glass door. The phrase “lock the sliding glass door” is an oxymoron when referring to ninety-nine percent of the sliding glass doors on the market. Even with the so-called blocking devices added.

The typical “normal” door can be opened by a determined and knowledgeable intruder. An ADT sign in the yard just causes him to believe there’s something inside worth stealing and he’ll have to disable the alarm. Only the “amateur” intruder is deterred by this. Someone who just escaped jail and on the run is seldom an “amateur”.

My car has factory installed anti-theft systems and requires a coded key to start it; and car thieves know exactly how to work around these. Alarms and locks and dogs and attack cats are no threat to professional thieves or desperadoes on the run.

I don’t lock my car because if it’s going to be broken into I’d rather it be broken into with still good windows instead of broken into and broken windows. If it’s stolen I just hope it’s found later without bent fenders and as much gas in it as when he stole it. Insurance will replace the key lock and repaint the scratches on the steering column.

In the OP case the homeowner was fortunate because the intruder was lacking both gun and brains. I doubt that the “average” home invasion would be similar; the “average” intruder would likely have both.

The only way to gain control as I see it would be to have a gun in bed with you, and not in a holster and not tucked beneath the mattress. The only way to have it instantly reached would be to keep it under the pillow; and I know some men who do just that.

As far as a “safe area” where one can sleep with unlocked doors, I don’t know of any. I do know of an entire family being slaughtered in a rural area of Georgia where it was (used to be) “safe” to have unlocked doors.

The OP homeowner got ahead of the curve by thinking and using it. The rest of us might not be so lucky, unless we have a gun under the pillow.

BTW, if you want a good “alert” dog get a poodle.

March 2, 2012, 10:51 AM

Well, the Siamese cats will like that...

Thanks for the tip.

March 2, 2012, 11:00 AM
Standard poodles are a rugged breed of dog. I seem to remember someone running a team of them a few years ago in the Iditarod dogsled race.

March 2, 2012, 11:10 AM
IIRC, the current canine occupant of the White House is a Portugese Water Spaniel.

Re poodles: In my veterinary practice, I saw for several years a Standard Poodle that was attack trained. The owner kept it clipped in the usual froo-froo poodle cut, but it was trained to attack when it heard a certain foul word. (I thought that was very clever - an attacker sics the dog on himself when he uses foul language.) The owner was kind enough to demonstrate one day and it was a formidable display.

Two bits of advice on choosing a dog: First, the discussed personality characteristics of a breed are a trend from which any individual can deviate, sometimes substantially. You need to evaluate the individual at least as much as the breed, and it is not unreasonable to consult a professional in doing so if your knowledge and experience are limited.

Secondly, the health and personalities of dogs vary in inverse proportion to the popularity of the breed. I have seen different breeds go through entire cycles in my thirty years of practice. When a breed becomes popular, lots of yahoos think they can make a quick buck by breeding anything strong enough to stand. All sorts of problems arise, the breed becomes unpopular, and then the only people continuing to breed are the ones who care enough about the breed to be highly selective in their breeding stock, and the breed recovers.

March 3, 2012, 09:31 AM
I am in the lock the doors club. My girlfriend is getting better about it lately. When she first moved in she like to leave the door, and a couple of windows open to let in some fresh air. Well a locked screen door would help. Though I can not install one due to the fact that we are in a rental property. a few times I have found the door unlocked. After she saw the reports of a couple of home invasions that happened here in town she is now steadfast on locking the door, and keeping the curtains closed.

I can see how the intruder was in the house for a while without alerting the couple. My hearing is awful (legaly deaf) and I sleep soundly, though my dog tells me when someone is at the door. (You should see how happy he gets when the adorable Girl Scouts come to the door selling cookies.:p)

March 3, 2012, 09:35 AM
Put a "1" in front of your 911 !

I just made that slogan up and I love it :D

Don H
March 3, 2012, 02:05 PM
I have three dogs, two of which are Bassets, meaning they might let me know if something is a foot, but I can't expect them to do anything. If you know Bassets you know they just might sleep through the whole encounter.

I know exactly what you mean! Our Basset is a real watchdog--she'll happily, and quietly, watch anyone do anything!

March 3, 2012, 02:21 PM
I'm not advocating having weapons placed all over the house. I knew a guy who slept with a 1911 under his pillow and had a 38 revolver in his dishwasher.

Yes, in his dishwasher :rolleyes:

But I think it can make sense to have something bedside and in your bedroom closet.

I wonder what kind of snack the guy made himself.

If someone came into my house and ate my mortadella I'd be ****** !!!


March 3, 2012, 02:27 PM
Put a "1" in front of your 911 !

I just made that slogan up and I love it

Get a copyright lawyer right now!

Lost Sheep
March 3, 2012, 02:44 PM
This is why I sleep with a holstered gun, under the blankets every night. Even if I take a nap in the recliner, a gun is on my lap. Too old to fight but can still double-tap into a life size target pretty accurately at 30 ft.
I recall an experiment where trained, fit, healthy and well rested individuals were placed in a dimly lit room, in a bed, fully clothed and told that sometime in the following couple of hours a target would appear in the doorway and they were to shoot it.

The accuracy results were dismal.

It takes a while (argument for some kind of early warning system) for a relaxed person to change mind-set from sleep to full alert and target-oriented. When I was young, 2-5 seconds were enough for me to come to full alert, be completely awake with heart rate and reaction time, balance and strength to full capacity. Age slows everyone down.

I wish I could find the study so I could analyze it.

Lost Sheep

March 4, 2012, 04:29 PM
It's a Sunday afternoon, sun is shining (snowing too :mad: ) and I'm sitting inside with all the doors locked.

If I go out to the shed for a tool, . . . the door locks behind me, . . . I have a key in my pocket, . . . and 2 doorbells if my hands are full.

It is a wonderful, low crime, out in the boonies, on 10 acres type place, . . . and I just want to enjoy it as long as the Lord will allow me to be here.

That just might come to an end, quickly, if the wrong person came along and waltzed on in while I wasn't looking, . . . happens all too often, . . . and all too close. Locked doors and 1911's can keep at least some of that stuff at bay, . . . that is what I am trying to do.

May God bless,