Missoula, MT – A suspected car thief barged into a stranger's residence while running from police on Monday morning, and quickly found himself being held at gunpoint by the homeowner inside.
The incident began at approximately 8:05 a.m., after a Missoula County Sheriff’s Office deputy spotted a vehicle that matched the description of a vehicle that had been reported as stolen traveling along Mullan Road, the agency said in a press release.
The unnamed driver pulled to the side of the roadway, at which point the deputy began conducting a felony stop.
The suspect ignored the deputy’s commands and sped off from the scene, leading the deputy on a pursuit through a construction site, several fields, and multiple fences.
The driver came to a stop on Haven Heights, then barreled out of the vehicle and ran inside a nearby home.
The homeowner, who had been watching the increased police activity in the area, had “armed himself” before the suspect came barging into his residence, police said.
“When the suspect entered his home, he held him at gunpoint until officers arrived and took the suspect into custody,” the sheriff’s office said in the press release.
Concerned citizens posted comments to the agency’s Facebook page in the wake of the pursuit, and many praised the department and homeowner for their swift and decisive actions during the incident.
“That sob almost hit our work trucks,” Jeremiah Rasmussen wrote on the thread. “Most importantly he was all over the road where kids were waiting for the bus.”
“This guy and the officer both passed me on Mullan Road past the Pulp Mill this morning and we saw him driving in the fields,” Rita Peplow Shear wrote. “I'm glad he was caught and no one was hurt.”
“This could have turned out very different if the homeowner wasn't armed. Way to go homeowner and law enforcement!!!” Gayle Carlson added.
The suspect refused to provide deputies with his name, and was hauled off to the Missoula County Detention Facility on unspecified charges, according to the sheriff’s office.