OROVILLE (CBS13) – After a string of burglaries at his Oroville store, a fed-up business owner fought back to catch the crooks.
Darin Fowler says he camped out at his business and confronted the burglar.
“This is my property; I’m going to defend it,” he said.
Over the past three months, Fowler says he’s felt pretty defenseless.
“They were taking chain saws, weed eaters, lawn mowers. They would remove complete generator heads off generators,” he said.
Fowler says burglars cut into the fence of his business, Air Cooled Unlimited, 15 times and made off with valuable equipment and metal.
“They had actually cut this all the way down, and zip tied it open, spread it right open,” Fowler said, showing CBS13 the area of the fence the burglars cut through.
Fowler spent money installing new fencing and surveillance cameras, which caught the suspect’s blurry images. Still, they’d keep coming back.
So when Fowler saw a new hole in his fence Friday, he decided it was enough.
“That’s when we decided we were going to stick around and see if we can catch them,” he said. “We were actually sleeping on the concrete right behind the shop.”
Around 3:30 a.m. Saturday, they heard a noise.
“They were yanking units through the fence,” said Fowler.
With a concealed weapon permit, Fowler pulled out his gun.
“As soon as he saw the gun he was very compliant,” he said.
Fowler ordered the suspect, Dillon Masterson, to the ground, said Police. Masterson He dropped to his knees, and within two minutes, an officer took him into custody.
Officers searched Masterson’s home and allegedly turned up a number of items from Fowler’s business, says Fowler.
Police also arrested Steven Rodrigues in connection with the thefts.
“Two-and-a-half months of seeing this guy on video, and I finally caught him,” said Fowler.
For Fowler, it’s a win. And despite the possible danger, he says he’d do it again.
“It was almost closure because now we can relax a little bit now and get back to work,” he said.
Police say Masterson was out on bail at the time of his arrest, and was also in possession of drugs.