Hypothetical: Response to Auto Break-in whle Parked at Home

This is a discussion on Hypothetical: Response to Auto Break-in whle Parked at Home within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Background: I live in Erie PA right on the edge of the bad part of town. My house is directly across the street from a ...

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Thread: Hypothetical: Response to Auto Break-in whle Parked at Home

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Roadrunner's Avatar
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    Hypothetical: Response to Auto Break-in whle Parked at Home

    Background: I live in Erie PA right on the edge of the bad part of town. My house is directly across the street from a large nursing home that serves as a stabilizing influence to keep the thugs out, but if you go two blocks north things go downhill fast. We get a fair number of shady characters who walk past on a regular basis. I've lived here almost three years, and cars parked in my driveway (which is right off the street, it only goes 40 feet or so back) are regularly looted if they're unlocked. It's happened to several of my friends and now to me. Apparently I forgot to hit the lock button Friday night and some little punk stole my GPS. I've already filed a police report and will be forwarding it to the GPS company so they can deactivate the unit. It's a small victory but at least it's something, the thief won't get any use out of the thing.

    Now, on to my hypothetical scenario. My house is in a residential area with lots of other houses, schools, nursing homes, etc. all around. There are street lamps and it's fairly well lit at night. I have a large window in the dining room that looks out on the driveway. There is a minuscule chance that I'll glance outside one evening and catch a thief in the act. What are my response options, legally speaking? I see the following, in order of perceived legality:

    1. Call 911, attempt to discern identifying features of the thief, watch impotently while they run away.
    2. Physically restrain the thief, call 911, and let the cops take them in.
    3. Hold the thief at gunpoint, call 911, and let the cops take them in.
    4. Beat the SOB with a broom handle until a bystander calls 911, continue beating until the ambulance shows up to take the thief to the hospital and the cops show up to take me to jail.


    Option #1 will be completely ineffective. They'll never catch the guy. Option #2 is tactically dangerous for obvious reasons, but might be a viable option if the thief is a small kid that I can manhandle easily. I still don't like it. Option #3 is a little safer tactically since I should have at least equal or greater firepower than the thief, but I'm worried about becoming another Joe Horn and not beating the rap. Option #4 would be my preferred response but is obviously very illegal and really only provided here for comic relief. So what would you do? Plus if anyone could provide a link to the relevant PA statutes I would really appreciate the help. Thanks.

    Edit: Suggestions that I move or remember to keep my car locked aren't helpful. I don't have the money or inclination to move and as a rule I do keep my car locked. No one is perfect, sometimes I forget or hit the wrong button. I am planning to add a motion detecting flood light and possibly a security camera. The camera might not do much good because I have no idea of how it will hold up in court.
    - Kurt
    “Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.” ~Pericles of Athens
    Primary Carry - Colt Commander .45 in a Brommeland Max-Con V

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  3. #2
    Member Array JimH58's Avatar
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    I am sure you will get many opinions here but drawing a weapon on someone outside your home means you have the fear of immediate deadly threat to yourself. I doubt that someone robing your car or someone elses constitutes a deadly threat to yourself. Pulling a gun on them could lead to some problems. All other options other then literally beating the guy to death might be open.
    JimH
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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    You need to read up on Pa law regarding use of force to protect property. Going out armed to confront and detain the bad guy may escalate. If the bad guy attacks and you shoot in self defense you may have a completely legitimate shoot but still find yourself at the mercy of your local prosecutor. They may be rabid anti gunners or they might be worried about which way the political winds are blowing. Even defending against very lame prosecution brought so they can say they tried but the jury let you off could be very expensive.
    Infowars- Proving David Hannum right on a daily basis

  5. #4
    Senior Member Array Roadrunner's Avatar
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    OK, I know that holding them at gunpoint is a bad idea. I meant to make that clear. I'm looking for better options.
    - Kurt
    “Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.” ~Pericles of Athens
    Primary Carry - Colt Commander .45 in a Brommeland Max-Con V

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    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
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    Gee...I would yell out the window that the cops are on the way and they are com'on to git you...with a very strong flashlight as a distractor to the eyes as a possibility. I think your goal is to keep your car from getting stolen...not play cop.

    I wouldn't choose any of your options.

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    VIP Member Array HKinNY's Avatar
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    Option #5. Shooting the perp with a Taser?

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    Ex Member Array PNUT's Avatar
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    Install a good car alarm. If you actually see the BG's robbing your car,do what Bandit383 said.

  9. #8
    Distinguished Member Array svgheartland's Avatar
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    I have an uncle that lived in a similar neigborhood. He'd restored a 66 Mustang and put serious money in the the sound system. He went under the dash and taped razor blades to the radio and sure enough; He came out to find the drivers window broken and blood all over the drivers seat and floorboard. He said that he slept well that night.
    Savage Heartland

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  10. #9
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post
    You need to read up on Pa law regarding use of force to protect property. Going out armed to confront and detain the bad guy may escalate. If the bad guy attacks and you shoot in self defense you may have a completely legitimate shoot but still find yourself at the mercy of your local prosecutor. They may be rabid anti gunners or they might be worried about which way the political winds are blowing. Even defending against very lame prosecution brought so they can say they tried but the jury let you off could be very expensive.
    Just to add to mcp's excellent post:

    You could be seen as "escalating" the situation since you left the security of your home to confront the larcenious individual. In a lot of jurisdictions this will get you placed in handcuffs and sitting in jail until trial.

    You need to ask yourself if anything in your vehicle is worth your life, because it could go that way. You will be introducing a gun to a conflict. That means that it could be used on you.

    Every conflict I get involved in, there is always at least one gun present, MINE! Therefore I avoid conflicts if at all possible. For me option #1 is the most sound, followed by turning one of the dogs loose on them, but that is frought with peril too.

    Biker
    Last edited by BikerRN; April 20th, 2009 at 01:50 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Geez, I hope that post was in jest and said with lots of sarcasm.

    If not, I hope nobody is mentally and intellectually challenged enough to actually do what this person claims they would do.

    Biker

  12. #11
    Member Array Loadedtech's Avatar
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    I would at least go with the motion detected flood lights, thats quite a deterrent for someone walking a neighborhood checking handles.

    Savage- I have heard of people getting sued by doing what you described, ie someone breaking into basement window over and over, you cannot put a piece of plywood with nails sticking up under window. But good decision on uncle! Justice served!
    CHP holder. EDC G27. I support VCDL, so glad to have them fighting for my rights.

  13. #12
    Member Array Stirling XD's Avatar
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    Your best option is in deterrence. Get a car alarm. Put up a motion sensing light. You could put up a camera, but getting a picture of the thief isn’t likely get your stuff back or bring justice. The cops will tell you, "That's a great picture of the thief. All we need now is his name and address." But seeing a camera close by might serve as a deterrent.

    If you leave valuable stuff in your car, you might as well leave the doors unlocked. That way you’re only out another GPS as opposed a GPS and a window. Of coarse that’s sarcasm. Just don’t leave stuff in your car.

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    New Member Array TJWag's Avatar
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    Lets simplify the situation. You are in your house, look outside and you see someone breaking into your car. Are we really limited to calling the police and flashing our porch light?
    Do I have no option to go outside to deal with the situation and protect my property?

  15. #14
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    Call 911 period. I don't think that you have any other option with a property crime. Anything else and you are in trouble.... In my opinion.

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJWag View Post
    Lets simplify the situation. You are in your house, look outside and you see someone breaking into your car. Are we really limited to calling the police and flashing our porch light?
    Do I have no option to go outside to deal with the situation and protect my property?
    This is why you need to know your local laws! What I can do here in Texas could get you twenty years playing house with a playmate not of your chosing. What someone in Idaho might be able to do could get someone in New Jersey life without parole.
    Infowars- Proving David Hannum right on a daily basis

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