Would-be burglars scared off by teenager with rifle at Pierce County home

SOUTH PRAIRIE, Wash. -- A Pierce County man says someone tried to break into his home twice in one week. But the second time, his 15-year-old son scared them off with a rifle.

John Thomas says someone broke into his South Prairie home last Thursday, stealing guns, tools and a laptop computer. The thieves left behind some other valuable items, so Thomas was worried they might come back. When his son stayed home from school on Monday, he left him a rifle and told him what to do if the burglars returned. He was proud that his son didn’t panic when he heard a window being broken.

“He didn't show himself,” says Thomas. “If they don't know who you are, they're just scared because there is a person inside. So he shouted, he alarmed them, and they vacated.”

Thomas did put up surveillance cameras after the first burglary, so he got shots of the two men who came to his house Monday.

Pierce County investigators are trying to figure out if the two break-ins are connected. They say there have been several burglaries in the neighborhood recently.

“People who commit burglaries usually do it for a living,” says Detective Ed Troyer. “So hopefully with these photos, we can get them identified. We can find them and put an end to the burglaries happening in that area.”

Late Thursday night, Troyer said one of the men had been taken into custody and the other has been identified after Q13 News viewers called with tips.