A female homeowner shot and killed an intruder in Las Vegas Saturday morning after police say the would-be burglar had been casing her home for hours.
“This should be a lesson to anybody who’s thinking about breaking into other peoples’ houses,” neighbor Joseph Sterling Boyd told local media station 8 News Now. “You never know what you’re going to come across, so you might want to think twice.”
Local media reports that a woman called 911 around 11:15 a.m. to report a man who had broken into her home. The burglar had knocked on the front door, and when he didn’t receive an answer, he went to the back of the home and broke the sliding glass door.
The homeowner retreated to her bedroom to retrieve her firearm, and when the burglar confronted her, she shot him.
While Nevada is a Castle Doctrine state, and the homeowner had no duty to retreat, she also claims the man lunged at her in her bedroom.
After being shot once, the burglar ran out of the house to his car and drove away. Police found the car crashed about two blocks from the home.
Boyd says he saw the car driving away but didn’t realize what had happened.
“I did notice it was a car that was driving somewhat slow and that the front left tire was flat. If the car had stopped I was going to offer assistance with the flat tire,” Boyd told local media. “I didn’t think much of it at the time until I saw the yellow tape and was able to put it together.”
The burglar was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.
Police say the perpetrator had been casing the home for hours before knocking on the homeowner’s door.
“We have some preliminary information that we believe the suspect may have been here for several hours parked in front of the house and could’ve possibly been casing the area prior to the burglary that occurred,” said Metro Lt. Ray Spencer.
While summer is the peak burglary season in most states, CNN reports that burglaries also spike around the holidays, especially in the week after Christmas.
Many families leave their homes unattended over the holiday season, and in some states unshoveled snow can tell criminals that no one is home. Burglars are also attracted by newly unwrapped gifts, many of which are left under the Christmas tree in plain view of the windows.
The burglar in Las Vegas was typical in another way as well: according to the FBI, 65% of these crimes occurred during the daylight hours between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. in 2011.
To minimize risk of burglary while on vacation, the United States Concealed Carry Association recommends barring doors and windows, installing a home security system, investing in a quality gun safe, and putting interior lights on timers.