STOCKTON (CBS13) – Facing a pair of armed criminals, a Stockton woman’s quick bluff could be the reason she and her husband are still alive.
The two suspects used a ruse and a disguise to get inside the home. But it was the would-be robbers’ phony uniforms that tipped off their victims.
“I could hear this (banging on the door) and I looked over at (my daughter), and I said ‘call 911. They’re coming in,’ ” said Lynn Rutledge.
It was a rude awakening. Bill Rutledge and his wife Lynn had some unexpected guests early Saturday morning. The men were dressed in maintenance gear, but turned out to be armed robbers.
“They pulled their clipboards back and they both had these guns,” said Bill.
Bill answered the door to the men wearing breather masks and hardhats. The men said they were there to work on a sewage problem. So Bill let them in, but then noticed something suspicious.
“I work for Clark Pest Control and the guys had a Clark Pest Control shirt on. I know we don’t have shirts like that,” said Bill.
Bill led them around back and into his garage, and that’s when, he says, both men pulled out their guns.
“I could hear them say ‘we have a gun. We’re gonna shoot you,’ and he goes ‘no, your guns are fake.’ He was screaming at the top of his lungs,” said Lynn.
Lynn was on the other side of the garage door listening.
“I thought, ‘be aggressive. Be aggressive,’ ” said Lynn.
She was terrified; but something made her yell, “I have a loaded gun. So don’t plan to come in here.”
But the truth was, Lynn wasn’t even armed.
“I didn’t know what else to say,” said Lynn.
To her astonishment, the desperate plan worked, scaring off the men.
It was a close call and a bold move that paid off for the husband and wife turned crime-fighting team.
“We’re blessed. We were blessed,” said Lynn. “I think we scared them as much as they scared us. I think everyone was so scared of each other.”
Police are still looking for the two men involved. Neighbors are worried because, they say, several other burglaries have occurred in the last few months.
Officers have no specific descriptions of the suspects to provide other than they were wearing white Clark Pest Control shirts, hard hats, breather masks and had clipboards.