Tulsa, OK – A former law enforcement officer with experience in special military operations turned the tables on an armed burglar he found breaking into his vehicle Sunday morning.
Curtis Sprague said he and his wife were awakened at about 4:40 a.m. on Jan. 9 when their Ring camera detected motion out in their driveway, KOTV reported.
Sprague said he got out of bed, threw on his clothes, and “grabbed a pistol for protection” before heading outside to see what triggered the camera alert.
“[I] went outside to see what was going on and see if I could stop the problem,” Sprague told KOTV. “My initial intent was to go out, get the description, see if I could see a vehicle to give to the police.”
When he got outside, Sprague noticed the dome light of his pickup truck was on and that a shadow was moving around in the back of the vehicle, where he keeps a hatchet in the rear door.
He said he knew he had to act fast if he wanted to catch the intruder off guard, KOTV reported.
“I’m starting out as an intended victim at a tactical disadvantage because he’s already acting, committing his crime, and I’ve got to play catchup and react to it,” Sprague said. “I know that I’ve got to change his school of thought and take him out of his plan and give him something he didn’t plan which causes a mental speedbump.”
The homeowner decided to slam the door on the thief.
“[That] stunned him, judging by the look on his face when he did turn around and saw me standing there,” Sprague told KOTV.
The former officer drew his weapon and ordered the suspect to the ground repeatedly, then seized the Glock 23 the suspect had tucked into his waistband.
Sprague, who also took the burglar’s identification out of his back pocket, said the gun was evidence the suspect had “planned for contingencies.”
“He thought that there might be a chance that a homeowner would come out and confront him about the situation and his contingency was that Glock 23 on his hip,” he told KOTV.
The homeowner spotted a second man jumping out of a vehicle down the street, so he yelled at him to stay away.
Sprague’s wife, who watched the incident unfold from inside the house, had already called the police.
“She did a great job,” Sprague said of his spouse. “She was watching from an upstairs window and relaying information, which was fantastic. Very helpful.”
Both suspects took off when they heard police sirens heading their way, the homeowner told KOTV.
He said they were both tall and lanky, and estimated them to be in their twenties.
Sprague said he is thankful for the Tulsa police officers who responded to his wife’s call for help.
“I will commend the Tulsa Police Department,” he told KOTV. “Their response time was excellent. They were there in no time.”
The homeowner said he “got lucky” in this situation and noted he doesn’t encourage others to react the same way.
“There’s nothing in my vehicle that’s worth that guy losing his life over and there’s nothing in that vehicle worth losing my life over,” he told KOTV. “I just kind of reverted back to some old training and some things happened and I got lucky.”
Police said the incident, which was recorded by the Ring camera, is one of many burglaries they’re investigating in the area where Sprague lives, KOTV reported.