Naked 91-year-old Lake Worth man holds drunken burglar at gunpoint until deputies arrive
by MICHAEL LaFORGIA
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 19, 2009
LAKE WORTH ó A burglar early this morning clambered over a backyard fence on a quiet block on the city's west side. He picked the wrong house.
He made it maybe a couple of steps before Rettt the dog, a mixture of Rottweiler and Doberman pinscher, charged, tearing the intruder's shirt from his back in a growling, ferocious attack.
This gave homeowner Robert E. Thompson, 91, time to jump out of bed, grab his gun, a .38-caliber revolver loaded with hollow-point bullets, and to phone the police.
Then he went out back to let the guy know how he felt about home invaders. He raised the gun and shouted out in the darkness. He thought there might be three or four of them. He didn't care.
"The funny part was I didn't have any clothes on," said Thompson, a World War II veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart during combat tours in Europe. "I was standing out there with a .38 in my hand, and I was stark naked."
Already terrified of the dog, the burglar, who looked to be no older than 20, took a step toward the nude 91-year-old, and that was it for Thompson.
"I fired a warning shot," he said, and the burglar froze. "I wasn't going to let the guy get within six or eight feet of me. He spoke only Spanish, and I couldn't understand anything he was saying. I think he was more scared than I was, really."
And so they stayed that way, the hapless young burglar, who appeared, authorities said later, to be very drunk, and the naked old homeowner, his head cool, his revolver leveled, until Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies showed up.
Thompson would've made it out of the whole ordeal completely unscathed if, when the deputies told him to drop the gun, it hadn't accidentally gone off, sending a tiny bullet fragment ricocheting off the concrete pool deck and into Thompson's right shin.
He barely felt it, but the deputies called paramedics and insisted he get checked out at Delray Medical Center. He was back home by midday, recounting the incident.
The burglar, who identified himself as Jose Pasqual, 26, of no fixed address was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on a burglary charge.
"I have a real bad feeling about these guys. I don't tolerate them. I would've shot him if he kept coming," Thompson said. "You've got to protect yourself."