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Exclusive: Hesperia Neighbor Stops Suspected Burglar

HESPERIA ( — A 79-year-old man in Riverside County confronted a suspect allegedly trying to burglarize a neighbor's home Thursday and held him at gunpoint until police arrived.

The resident, who only wanted to be identified as Richard, says he saw the man scoping out his neighbor's home in the 14000 block of Willow Street when no one was home.

The Hesperia hero confronted the suspect: "I said, 'What are you doing?'

"He said, 'Well, my stuff is here.'

"I said, 'No, it's not here.'

"He said, Well, Steve lives here.'

"I said, 'No, he doesn't. You just better be on your way.'

"He said, 'Well, you wouldn't shoot me.'

"I said, 'Well, test me.'"

Richard told the suspect to put his hands up on the the fence or lay down on the ground.

But he says the would-be burglar didn't go down without a fight.

He allegedly punched Richard in the nose, knocking him to the ground and his glasses off his face: "Rather than swing at him, I just protected myself like this and he beat on my back for nine or 10 times. And then I took my gun out and hit him on the foot with it, and then he backed off.

"And he said, 'If I run are you going to shoot me or kill me?' I said, 'Go for it.' It was his choice, not mine."

The one-time military man says he always has a gun on him for safety reasons.

"I'm not looking for any glory or anything. I just live in the neighborhood and want to be left alone," Richard said.

The High Desert homeowner is not intimidated by confronting people behaving badly: "Nobody's held accountable anymore, you know. They don't have any respect. There's no work ethic. I just won't stand for it. You know, he picked on the wrong guy."

Richard plans on pressing charges against the 25-year-old suspect, who was taken into custody and faces assault charges.

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