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Old June 13, 2008, 02:20 AM   #1
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Yikes!! Prowler Episode JUST NOW!!

OK, I have just transitioned from "hypothetically, maybe it could happen someday" to "Oh my gosh, it just happened to me!" No shots fired, but I almost did. I live in a nice, white collar subdivision in the suburbs of Louisville, KY. I'm sitting up late watching my recording of the Lakers/Celtics game. My wife, teenage daughter, and younger son left two days ago for a week at the beach, I stay home because I have work obligations. So I'm home alone, just me and my dogs (two English cocker spaniels and a spunky toy poodle). Suddenly the dogs start going crazy, barking and making a racket. I'm thinking...what in the world is that about. I look at the clock, it's 12:45am. The dogs run to the back of the house and bark excitedly at the back door. One of the dogs, my "alpha male", has gone into "don't mess with me" mode...he's really upset, the hair is up on the back of his neck, and he's baring his teeth. The only times I've seen him this agitated is the times he has run into raccoons or coyotes in the tall grass when we are pheasant hunting. His current agitated behavior has my nerves on edge. Then I hear tapping and rattling on the back door.

Although I got my Kentucky concealed carry permit last year, I hadn't ever actually "carried", because I didn't have a gun small enough to conceal comfortably. But just last week I bought a new Ruger LCP, and have just started doing concealed carry on a regular basis. My Beretta Cheetah stays locked in the car (no help to me now). But my LCP was in my desk drawer with my wallet and keys.

So I grab the LCP and slide it in my pocket. As I head towards the back door, I hear tapping again. Somebody wants me to let them in. I'm trying to think of why someone would be here at this time of night, and why they would be at the back door, and not just come to the front, which is the natural approach for friends and visitors. The back porch light is not on, so I can't see who is there. I stand to the side, taking cover beside a bookcase, and I yell out "who's there", and nobody answers. I'm thinking they are gone. I stand quietly for a minute, trying to decide what to do. Then they tap again!! I yell "who's there, identify yourself!". No response. Now I'm really scared. I yell "identify yourself!!" one more time. Again, no response. Now I'm convinced this not a friendly visitor. I want to turn the porch light on, but the switch is next to the door, and I would have to fully expose myself to turn it on. I wonder if someone will try to shoot me through the glass door. Then it occurs to me that maybe I should shoot through the glass at whoever is out there. But then I think, what if its just a kid playing a prank? So I don't shoot. The dogs are still going crazy. Finally I get up the nerve to expose myself enough to go to the door and flip on the porch light switch. By this time, nobody is there. I let the dogs out (hunting dogs) and they growl and sniff wildly all over the back yard and along the fence. Clearly somebody has been there, but has fled. I call the local police for our neighborhood area. I have the number in my desk, because last month a notice had been sent out to everybody that there had been a series of home invasions in the area, and people should be aware. When I get the duty officer on the phone, he is not the least bit surprised at what I tell him. As he turns his car around and heads for my address, he wants to keep me on the phone. After he arrives and looks around a bit, we get into a discussion. He tells me they know of at least two active "problems" is a burgler they are trying to catch in our area, and the other is a rapist. The burgler's MO is to knock on people's back door, and if nobody answers, he kicks the door in. If they do let him, I guess he just barges in and does his business!! Folks, this isn't the "inner city". This is a nice, upscale, quiet home in the suburbs. Although I'm 6' 2" and 215 lbs, I feel violated and vulnerable. This guy (or "these guys"??) must have been watching me through the window. They must have heard and seen the TV on, and they certainly heard the dogs. Yet they still had the balls to try to get me to open the door!! WOW. I don't think I'll ever feel safe in my own home again. I probably won't even sleep tonight. My adrenalin is still flowing, which is probably why I'm still sitting up telling this long story. But if you've read this far, I guess you found it interesting. If you are a policeman or other LEO, this kind of thing is nothing new to guys deal with this stuff all the time. God bless all you guys!! I was sure glad to see that officer show up in front of my house! But I'm just normal business guy, and even though I read about it and have my hunting and gun hobbies and such, this is new to me. And I don't like it one bit!! My Ruger is in one pocket, and my Beretta is in the other. I'll probably have them both under my pillow tonight...if I go to sleep at all.
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Old June 13, 2008, 03:32 AM   #2
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Wow, that is a really scary story. It doesn't help that I'm sitting alone in the dark either! Glad you got out of it ok. Stay vigilant.
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Old June 13, 2008, 06:20 AM   #3
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So I grab the LCP and slide it in my pocket.

First, I'm glad you got out of it ok.

Now, let me analyze a little.

The first thing you should have grabbed was your cell phone or the house phone. Get the cops on the way FIRST, unless the threat is imminent.

You went to the door, not knowing who was out there. Do NOT try to clear a house or meet the threat head on unless you have tactical training in that type of action.

You called out to an unknown, unlocated person or persons. Now he has a good idea just where you are.

You took concealment behind that bookcase, not cover. You'd be surprised how much stuff a bullet will go through and still have the power to kill. Concealment hides, cover protects.

You advanced to a still-unknown threat. You had absolutely NO idea who, how many, or where.

You took some big chances and got away with it, IMO. Everything in your house is replaceable, your life isn't.

You were wise to not shoot, you had no cause or justification. NEVER shoot unless you have identified your target as a imminent threat to life or grave bodily injury.

OK, let's eliminate that scared feeling. Go practice with your weapons until you can draw and shoot blindfolded. Take a tactical course, if possible. Learn to defend, learn to barricade, and learn to gunfight. Yea, it sounds kinda like the "old West", but you need the skills you don't have go with the weapon you do have.

Again, glad you're safe.
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Old June 13, 2008, 12:57 PM   #4
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Next time call the police first.

Then go to the back door gun drawn and let him knock.


Do yourself a favor and stand on the side of the door away from the hinges.

Nothing worse then getting a door kicked in your face.

He kicks in your door,he's made a dreadful mistake.

Remember this too,it may have not been a bad guy at all.

It might have been a neighbor lady wanting to say 'hello'.
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Old June 13, 2008, 02:38 PM   #5
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jrmichael, I am no tactical expert and I won't critique your response to the situation. I'm just glad you're safe.

I will venture to say that the fact that you live in a nice, low-crime area (as do I) probably causes you to feel 'safe', and therefore be less prepared. One thing we all have to realize is that we are never truly safe. And it's a scary thing when we realize that.

I would suggest that you take the time to re-evaluate your home security. Here are some ideas. Others will add others, I'm sure.

- Install a / Use your alarm system.

- Install motion lights outside.

- Make sure entry doors are steel or steel-covered to reduce ease of kick-in.

- Re-think your gun selection. As a carry piece, the LCP is great. But, if you're home, consider having access to a larger caliber weapon.

- Make your neighbors aware of what happened. It would be very bad if the lady down the street was successfully attacked because she didn't know this was going on.

Anywho, I'm glad you're OK and will thank the Lord for same.
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Old June 13, 2008, 02:45 PM   #6
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It's a shame...

that they didn't come on in giving you a good reason to pop 'em.

I'm a LEO and we've had a few home invasions/ interrupted burglaries that ended with the resident killing or otherwise seriously injuring the perp (God Bless Alabama) and few things give the warm and fuzzies like true justice.

You did make a few tactical misjudgements as have been previously pointed out, but you didn't get hurt, and you were prepared to do what needed to be done. Seek out some additional training and get comfortable with your weapons, it seems like you've already got the determination to take care of you and yours. And yes, if at all possible call the police first, IF you have the luxury of time... if you don't, handle buisness and we can come do the clean-up.
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Old June 13, 2008, 05:22 PM   #7
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That is a wild story. Glad you are ok.
I say grab the gun first, then the phone.

It would have been a big mistake to have fired, glad you didn't do that. Who knows, it could have been that good looking neighbor lady with a double martini in her hand.

All I can say is thank God for barking dogs and loaded pistols in the house, I have two of each.

Also you ought to get some of the motion detector security lights, bad guys just hate them, would give added protection to your family when you are not at home.
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Old June 13, 2008, 06:06 PM   #8
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Yikes...I'm glad all is well and you are safe.

I agree with get a gun, get good cover, call 911, and announcing in a loud voice that the Police are on the way (in one way or another)...also about the motion detector lights, etc..but I just had a thought:

after you did the gun, cover, 911 thing, how about having one of those blowhorn/megaphone near by and announcing, in a deep command voice: "INTRUDER! YOU HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED! POLICE ARE ON THE WAY!" ...not sure that this is practical but it would have made little tap tap boy crap his pants as he fell over trying to get away as quickly as his flea ridden hide allowed him....actually what about the idea of having a megaphone in your safe room/bedroom whatever, to announce to whomever has broken in, or trying to break in, some version of the above? I think it might be a pretty good psychological deterrent.
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Old June 13, 2008, 06:41 PM   #9
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Another option is to yell out in a deep voice: "Otis! Wake up the gimp! We got ourselves another playmate!"
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Old June 13, 2008, 07:02 PM   #10
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The time I called the cops and said the words "suspect present" you (and this is no exaggeration) could hear four patrol cars from various directions go to WOT. Get to the phone and get 911 in the loop right away.

Glad you thought ahead and everything worked out.
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Old June 13, 2008, 09:26 PM   #11
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No Monday morning quarter backing here.

You handled as you thought.
Now, get a motion detector light on the backporch and or the garage for backlighting the porch. Also put one high up on the garage to illuminate the yard.

Maybe have something more heavier (firepower) that wife and family could handle. (20ga shotgun or M1 Carbine with softnose ammo)
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Old June 13, 2008, 11:52 PM   #12
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Did I read correctly? Your Beretta was locked in the car? Why would you leave a gun in a car...unless the car was locked in a garage. Even then...nothing stays in a vehicle around here. Too hard to get to in a rush. Glad you made it through the problem. Get ready for the next one. There is always a next time.

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Old June 13, 2008, 11:58 PM   #13
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I have 4 security lights around my house. Porchlight is a heat/motion detector and then there are 3 double floodlights with heat/motion detectors. Practicly the entire perimeter of my property is covered and my next door neighbor's is the same. It is just plain no fun for a perp to jump over my fence or his. It has happened and all we hear is fences rattling through the block as the idiot heads ass over teacup into darker yards. First line of defense, for sure.
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Old June 14, 2008, 12:08 AM   #14
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I'm the Original Poster of this thread.

Thanks to everybody for your analysis and feedback. Much of what you folks have shared I fully agree with, and I had arrived at similar conclusions after thinking this through myself.

I think the main lesson is this...I just wasn't expecting or mentally prepared for an actual perpetrator. As I went to investigate the barking dogs and knocking on the door, I just didn't really believe that there would be a prowler. I was trying to think of all the other reasons someone might be knocking on my door, and a prowler was still just a "theoretical possibility". In all honesty, the only reason I even slipped the LCP into my pocket is that I have been making a conscious effort to form a "carry" habit, so I thought, ok, it's late at night, and someone is knocking at the door, so why not grap the LCP while I check this out. Actually, I felt like I was being a little over-dramatic, and would have been embarrassed if the friend or neighbor (who was surely at the door) knew that I had stuffed a gun in my pocket.

After getting my CCW license last year, I only actually "carried" outside my home one time. Even when I did the CCW class, it was primarily because a friend at work wanted to do it (he lives about 15 miles away, his home had been burglerized twice), so I did it with him. I like hunting and guns, so even buying the LCP and learning to carry wasn't because I actually expected to need it. It was more like the reasons we buy life insurance...we all expect to live til we're 95, but, you know, we still buy insurance because its the responsible thing to do...not because we really believe we will suffer an accident or get sick. So even learning to carry was more of an extension of my hunting and gun hobby, not because I ever really expected to need it. I guess I'm a little naive (or dense, maybe) but even the prior neighborhood warning was little more than an amusement to me. I don't know why...I just didn't take it seriously.

Only when the prowler(s) knocked the third time and still refused to identify themselves did it dawn on me that I might actually be in trouble. I had fully expected that someone I knew would respond, "Hey, it's me, so-and-so..." But by the time I realized what was actually going on, my mistakes had already been made. I think this is a lesson for all of us...the crazy guys and bad guys don't give us advance announcements of the times and places of their next attacks.

So, anyway, I did spend the day at the hardware store buying extra deadbolts, new blinds for our downstairs windows that are easy to see through, new window stops, etc. I already have a backyard flourescent flood light that I rarely use, but it's now lighting up the back yard, and will always be "on" from hence forth. I replaced the front porch bulbs that have been burned out for a long time and my wife occasionally nags me about.

I told the police officer that I had gotten pepper spray for my wife and daughter (my daughter works the late shift at a restaurant). He politely told me how thoughtful I was to care about them, and then he scolded me (again, politely) that pepper spray was just a nice gesture, what I really need to do is give them each a gun. He wasn't the least bit kidding. He repeated the exhortation twice more before the evening was over. So today after the hardware store I went to the gun shop and bought a new S&W Model 63 22LR revolver that my wife and daughter will learn to shoot with, and once they demonstrate proficiency with that, I will purchase a similar S&W revolver but in higher caliber (probably 357/38+P) that will stay in the home for whoever might need it. Neither my wife nor my daughter have ever had the slightest interest in my hunting/gun hobby, but now they have both agreed to learn to shoot. I will take it one step at a time, but I'm hoping they will be willing to take a CCW course and get licensed. I am already on the waiting list at the gun store for another LCP, which I will insist that my daughter keeps in her purse, so she will need the CCW license.

I had a long talk with my closest neighbor about this incident. Their front and back yards are now all lit up, just like mine.

Thank you guys for the opinions and insights. I will be checking back to see others have to say.
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Old June 14, 2008, 12:14 AM   #15
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Yes, you read correctly...the Beretta was in the car. But the car is locked in the garage. Still, not much help in the current situation. Interestingly, for some reason I've thought if I ever actually did need a gun, it would be while in my car...travelling out of town, car-jacking possibly (it's a nice car), those kinds of things. But once you get home, you're safe, right...???
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Old June 14, 2008, 12:16 AM   #16
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An exterior camera rigged up to a VCR might not be a bad call as well. Who knows how many times this guy has been through your yard, etc.

I hope youve given some consideration to mindset as well. Someone knocking on my back door (already inside my "safety" zone) late at night (another huge RED flag- they didn't care that someone is home) should have had your gun in your hand, IMHO. There's something to be said for having a "What's the worst thing that can happen?" mindset. Be safe.
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Old June 14, 2008, 12:23 AM   #17
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OMG thinking about shooting through a door with out knowing what is on the other side is VERY BAD!!!! get control and think about it. You have no clue whats going on or who if anyone is on the other side of the door. Time to get to cover and dial 911. You cant just start shooting at the boogey man.
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Old June 14, 2008, 05:10 AM   #18
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"I already have a backyard flourescent flood light that I rarely use, but it's now lighting up the back yard, and will always be "on" from hence forth. I replaced the front porch bulbs that have been burned out for a long time and my wife occasionally nags me about."

Motion detector lights are much better.
First, who wants bright lights on all the time?
Plus, when the motion detector lights go on, you know that somebody, or some animal, has gotten within 50 feet of your house.
Also if it is a bad guy, he thinks he is about to sneak up to your house in the dark, then that floodlight hits him in the face. It is a surprise to the bad guy. He thinks that maybe you have spotted him and have flipped the switch on a flood light. Like someone else said, when that light pops on good chance the bad guy will run.
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Old June 14, 2008, 07:42 PM   #19
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Here's a thought, you said you are a hunter maybe you should think about the shotgun as something more than a bird getter. I view handguns as something better than a sharp stick but nowhere near as good as a rifle or shotgun. In my house we have a few handguns in strategic spots and there are shotguns, rifles and a cellphone in the bedroom.
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Old June 14, 2008, 08:17 PM   #20
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In my house we utilize floodlights around the perimeter of the property....

mainly we have the lights set to shine on all of our cars as the theives were going after our cars/car parts.....

My brother even went as far as installing miniature surveillance cameras and aimed at at his from his bedroom tv he can keep an eye on it in the night hours...

Because of this he was able to thwart the bad guys 2 times as they came once at 1:30am and once at 4:30am to steal his car....and he only drives an S2000.... and guess what? the theives showed up drivin a Land Rover the first time, then an Infiniti SUV the next

But in any event, I keep my 12ga shotty and my Ruger 10/22 unloaded and locked up in its case.... probably not a good idea as if my house was ever broken into I would need 2-3 minutes to get every thing "locked and loaded"....
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Old June 15, 2008, 12:06 AM   #21
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Just because I thought about shooting through the door at the guy(s) outside doesn't mean I'm crazy or stupid or "very bad". Lots of things can go through a person's mind when faced with an unfamiliar or stressful situation.

The only reason my thoughts even went in that direction is that I was surprised to realize there were bad guys outside my door about 6 feet away from my position, and I was afraid they were about to bust in on me. You will notice that, while I confessed to "thinking about it", I did, on my own, quickly determine that wasn't the right I didn't do it.
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Old June 15, 2008, 12:42 AM   #22
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This is why I dont have a nightstand.... I have a gun cabinet next to my bed with a 10 gauge, a few 12 gauges, my USP, my PM9, and my S&W m60. Sitting on the ledge of the gun cabinet on the outside is the keys, and my cell phone. If i hear something that goes bump in the night, whatever went bump hears the pump of my shotgun in the night. Which I might add, is a sound there is no mistaking what it came from.
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Old June 16, 2008, 10:09 PM   #23
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Ive always been paranoid of home invasion kick your door in type incidents. I keep the steel door bars at every outside door in the house. It wedges under the doorknob to the floor. I figured the average door being kicked in would open first kick. The bar will at least change that to 2 or 3 kicks and give me the extra 4 seconds to grab my weapon and point it at the door. They are less than 20 buxs a piece. 2 seconds could be all it takes. Doors with windows also make me paranoid. I know that most modern houses have a back door with full windows. But the motion activated flood lights are great. Get the really bright floodlights that blind the person. ANyways, theres my 2 cents worth. Stay safe

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Old June 17, 2008, 07:12 PM   #24
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Call me stupid but I would have opened the back door and let my 2 pittbulls out with gun drawn. They could use the sob as a chew toy till the police arrive.

I always have back and front light on.
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Old June 17, 2008, 08:32 PM   #25
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You mentioned pheasants so you must own a shotgun. If it is a O/U, double or semi auto that you hunt with buy another one. The sound of a slide racking on a pump gun will send them scurrying. I can just about guarantee they wouldn't have tapped again after hearing that distinct CHA CHING as you slide a shell into the chamber.

Glad everthing worked out ok for you.
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