Tierra Grande home invasion has victim worried about community

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A frightening home invasion for a Tierra Grande man has him concerned for his family and other residents of Valencia County.

John Fredericks was home alone on Sunday when two young men entered his house. Instead of using normal breaking-and-entering methods, the burglars used Fredericks' own garage door opener.

"My wife was in Belen and someone broke into her car and took the garage door opener, the gate opener and the information from the glove compartment," Frederick's said. "I guess they thought no one was home, so they drove out here."

Fredericks had been taking a nap that afternoon when he woke up to his dogs barking. Thinking his wife had returned home he got up to see an unfamiliar car in his driveway and two teenagers getting out.

"They got out of the car and went through the garage and into the kitchen," the homeowner said. "I had retrieved my weapon and pointed it at them and said, 'What the (expletive) do you think you're doing?' They turned around and bolted."

Not knowing what was going to happen next, Fredericks followed the two burglars outside and saw that an older female was in the driver's seat of the older-model, small to mid-size two-door, sand-colored car.

As the trio were driving away, Fredericks shot off a round on the ground behind the vehicle.

"I could have shot them at any time," he said. "I chose not to because I think the Holy Spirit came to me and told me not to because they were so young.

"I could have shot these two boys and I was in my rights to do so, but I chose not to," he added.

Fredericks said one of the boys was about 18 years old, 5-foot 1-inches tall, thin, and wearing a black shirt with an Eagle and an American flag, black pants and black tennis shoes. The younger teen, who the homeowner says was between 12 to 15 years old, was wearing all black and standing about 4-feet, 2-inches tall.

Immediately after the criminals left, Fredericks called 9-1-1 and within 15 minutes, a deputy showed up at the remote location.

"The one thing that concerns me is that this was a sophisticated crime because they broke into my wife's car and got information to get into my house," he said. "They were expecting no one to be home."

Afraid that they might come back, Fredericks immediately changed the codes to his gate and garage.

"But they still know who we are and where we live," he said. "I would hope they have the common sense not to come back. I think they were highly motivated to tally hoe all the way out of here."

Valencia County Sheriff's Capt. Gary Hall said no one has been arrested in this case, but reminds residents that if anyone finds themselves in a similar situation that they have the right to protect themselves.

"If someone enters the home uninvited and you don't know them and you believe they pose a threat, you certainly have the right to use force to protect yourself," Hall said. "If you're not armed, you want to find a safe place to hide and call 911. Hide in a closet or lock yourself in a bathroom.

"Try to go out a back door and go into another building or run to a neighbor's house," he said. "Just try and find a safe place to hide."

Hall, who doesn't advise anyone to confront a burglar because you never know what can happen, said he hasn't heard of any recent cases in the unincorporated areas of the county in which someone broke into a house using the homeowner's own garage door opener.

"I can't say it's never happened before, but this is the first one I can recall in a long time," he said.

Fredericks says he hopes other residents will be aware of what happened to him and reminds them not to leave valuables or other items in their car that can lead criminals back to their homes.

"We, as a community, need to be reminded of the dangers out there," he said. "I just hope this doesn't happen to anyone else."


-- Email the author at cgarcia@news-bulletin.com.