You never know... (my story)

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Dec 20, 2006
After reading some of the stories here I remembered that I had one that may qualify as interesting. Sorry if it is long.

This happened a few years back. My family lived in a nice neighborhood in a nice community. We knew our neighbors as acquaintances- you know, “hey, how you doing?” Our neighbors just put their house up for sale and the husband travelled a lot. One day my wife was talking to the neighbor wife and the neighbor mentioned a strange guy that came and looked at the house. Obviously she had a bad feeling to mention this to my wife. In hindsight she also mentioned that he noticed her husband’s travel bags as he was preparing to leave on a trip. Also in hindsight my wife heard some noise in the tree line behind our fence on night. You can see where this is going. The neighbor called the cops and they said a car matching his was parked on the cul-de-sac behind our houses one night. The cops said to call them if the car is in the neighborhood again. This freaked out the neighbor and understandably so.

So a few days after the stranger looked at my neighbor’s house the phone rang around 8pm. My wife answered the phone and the neighbor was frantic saying that the guy was knocking on her door. Her husband was out of town and she was alone with her 12 year old daughter. My wife yelled at me and I made a quick decision to do something. I wasn’t completely convinced the guy was a threat but she was. I grabbed my wife’s .38, which was the only gun I had at the time that would fit in my pocket. I walked out the front door and started walking down the sidewalk. The stranger saw me, left the neighbors door and started walking to his car parked on the street, which was at the corner of my lot and the neighbors.

The stranger was a normal looking blond guy, probably mid-thirties, dressed respectably in jeans and a button up shirt. I say, “Can I help you?” and he immediately starts the friendly BS. He wanted to look at the house next door- you know, at night, with no realtor. Meanwhile, my wife is calling the police. Immediately I can tell this guy is a professional liar. I can just tell. So the entire time I have my hand on my gun in my pocket. I can see his hands so I’m not too worried. I swear I talk to this guy for 15 minutes waiting on the cops. Finally I say goodbye and turn back to my house, while keeping an eye on him.

The guy gets in his car and drives about 200 yards down the street. Immediately a cop car comes out of no where and pulls him over. Then two more cop cars pull up. All I hear is “get out of the car”, then squealing tires. I’m like, holy crap. I can hear them chasing him out of the neighborhood.

Thirty minutes later a cop comes to my house and takes a statement. I told him what happened but never mentioned my gun. He asked, “So you just went out there and confronted him?” Maybe he knew I had a gun, maybe not. Apparently the cops chased him 20 miles until he wrecked his car. It turns out this guy was a career criminal and the Feds came to pick him up the next day, which I thought was odd. I’m not sure what the deal was but he definitely was not buying a house. I hate to think what would have happened if she had opened the door. A few days later the husband came over and thanked me profusely.

I think back and wonder if I should have done something differently and I don’t think so. If he had pulled a gun I would have killed him for sure. I wasn’t sure he was a threat until I met him, then I knew something wasn’t right. Also, I had to go confront him- there really wasn’t a choice since the neighbor was so scared. But you never know who you are dealing with.
I'm not sure what else you could have done. He wasn't presenting an immediate threat to the woman or to you. You were armed and ready to deal with it if it escalated.
It took what, over 20 minutes for the cops to show up? In that time, he could have easily murdered her. You stopped that from happening.
You did everything that should have been done IMHO. I'd be happy to live next door to you.
Remember, all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

You can count yourself among the good men who didn't sit and do nothing.

I am happy to congratulate you on a job well done. Some of our more self-centered and un-neighborly members will likely castigate you for risking your own safety for a mere neighbor.
To chime in with everyone else, good job. I travel a good bit for work, and I'd hope a neighbor would do the same for my wife in that situation.
There have been some reports lately, studies, showing that gated communities and non-gated communities are experiencing the same rates of crime. What this tells us is that living in a gated community is not an adequate defense.

Anyway, in the same studies, it says that neighbors knowing each other is the key element. You want to know what cars are normal in your neighborhood. Who is a resident, who a stranger. This is your best defense.

You are directly responsible for intervening in what was most likely a criminal act, and one that may have turned out really bad. You are also directly responsible for bringing a felon to justice. If you hadn't intervened and held that guy's attention, he would have either done some nasty business or escaped to wreak havoc another day.

Good choices, responsible bahavior, thinking on your feet, and..... balls.

You did good.

You made sure he stuck around long enough for LE to arrive, used the appropriate level of force for the situation, and were ready to escalate it to a higher level if you needed.

We should all be lucky enough to have neighbors like you.
Strolling over and asking "Can I help you?" (depending on tone and attitude of course) is hardly confrontational by most definitions. If the miscreant struck up a friendly conversation, you must not have been too abrasive. It sounds more... interventional than confrontational to me.

Looking out for your neighbor was a Good Thing IMHO. Doing it directly and personally means you subjected yourself to some risk, certainly. But you do that just getting out of bed. I'd say the individual in question pretty well figured 1) you had some idea what he was up to, and 2) figured you were ready and willing to deal with him if you had to. Sometimes body language shouts when verbal speech is relatively quiet.

As to him being a career criminal- hey, we don't know what we don't know. You can't worry about that. But his behavior was 'off' enough to scare your neighbor and put you on your guard, apparently. So your perceptions must have been working too. For whatever reason- likely because he thought he could just walk away once he broke contact with you- he decided to cut his losses this time and just walk away.

I'd guess that had he come back again later, he likely would have tried something different than knocking on the door to gain entry. It seems apparent to me your neighbor had passed his victim selection process, and he was just working on a way to get to her and her daughter. Your neighbor's willingness to call your home seeking help, and your willingness to go next door, likely saved them some serious unpleasantness.

Seems to me you pretty much did everything right... and your wife did, too. Having the cops on the way was a good thing.

If you're up to it, go to and read Dennis Rader's confession. Rader was known as the BTK (Bind- Torture- Kill) serial killer. This is a tough read- I have trouble getting through it at one sitting. But if you want some insight into the minds of some of the human-looking creatures walking around loose out there, this will give it to you in megadoses. You said yourself- you don't ever know who you're dealing with...

I find the lukewarm responses sort of puzzling. :confused: I think you did exactly what was called for - pretty much textbook. IMHO, Marine One in post #10 has it right. :cool:
Thanks for all of the kind responses but like I said, I don't feel like I could have done anything differently. I think my point is that I was a bit skeptical he was a bad guy at first, until I talked to him and realized he was "off."

I should have clarified too that I think the cops were there for a while and they were waiting for me to get clear. I was stalling waiting on them and they were waiting on me- kinda funny looking back.
My fiance doesnt get why I carry a gun, thinks i'm paranoid. So I tell her last night about the BTK serial killer. Just made things worse :( . Now shes mad at me for making her have nightmares. Oh well. But any way 12C, very good job. Im very impressed with how that worked out. If you went out w/ a shot gun he probable woulda taken off before the Police had arrived. And you did go out there and stop him from what he was planning. So you had just the right level; of confrontation. Just enough to stop his evil plan, but not too much so that he hung around long enough for the cops to apprehend him. Excellent.
I give you an A+++++++++++ on your handling of this situation. 100% correct handling, plus bonus points.

I would like to say that I would have done the same, but maybe not. It's likely many of us (myself included) would have received that panicked phone call and armed ourselves, called the cops, and hoped for the best while peering out the front window. Kudos for recognizing the clear warning signs of a BS story and the bad juju emanating from this otherwise normal looking individual.

Many of these stories have a "maybe he was up to no good, maybe not" resolution, but it's clear that in this case, you were literally a lifesaver.

Another interesting aside, to me, is the sheer utility aspect of the .38 you pocketed. Guns are tools, period, and fortunately you had the perfect tool available - a gun of sufficient caliber that can be hidden in a pocket. If you had come out of the house with a 1911 in an OWB holster on your hip, the guy would have bolted before the police arrived, and surely would have struck elsewhere. That's reinforcement for what we all know - no gun is perfect for every situation.

I would love to know what you said to the guy to keep him there for 15 minutes. That's simply remarkable. A sociopath like that would be naturally skittish, and it seems that you managed to effectively detain the guy through simple conversation without tipping his "danger" sense that the cops were on the way. Well done!
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You sir, rock.

You were completly "high road" in your handling, from being prepared, to solving the problem in a completely non-violent manner. You very well saved her life, you're a hero.

Rock on friend.
The book, "Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker, is an excellent read on using and tuning your natural, sense of warning. Though the author is anti-gun, the book is very good, buy used if possible.
545 days said:
Some of our more self-centered and un-neighborly members will likely castigate you for risking your own safety for a mere neighbor.

Why use this thread as a platform to take a jab at other members?

Some here would not do any of the unlikely pseudo-heroics hypothesized in those "what if" threads (like drive your car into the middle of a shootout to provide cover for an lone outgunned cop?!?!), but we have most certainly been good stewards of our neighborhoods.

Is that the high road you're taking with this comment?
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