In the same week at least three other homes were broken into, a Franklin man fired a shot at a vehicle that he found on his property.
Greg Stanley knew the gray sport utility vehicle, which had driven onto his property in the 4000 block of Whiteland Road twice Thursday afternoon, wasn’t supposed to be there.
In his rural area near Franklin, he knows everyone around him. Stanley told the men inside the vehicle they weren’t going to rob him and asked for their keys. When the men accelerated quickly and drove away, Stanley fired one shot after them, trying to hit a tire to stop the vehicle.
“I just fired because I was standing by the driver’s side door. Had he shown a gun, I wouldn’t have hesitated to shoot him,” Stanley said. “I did not feel threatened. I didn’t want to hurt him or anything like that.”
Police think the two men on Stanley’s property could be connected to at least two other home break-ins in southern Johnson County earlier this week, where someone stole guns, TVs and jewelry, and a white or gray truck was seen, Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox said.
Officers and deputies across the area are looking for that vehicle and the two men inside, described as in their 40s or 50s, with at least one having multiple tattoos.
Cox thinks the two men likely were trying to steal items from Stanley’s barn, where he stores tools and construction equipment.
But he doesn’t want residents confronting burglars without first calling police, and he doesn’t want people shooting at moving vehicles, he said.
People have every right to be armed, but even police officers are warned not to shoot at moving vehicles, Cox said.
Stanley likely didn’t hit the vehicle, so he doesn’t know where the bullet went, and bullets shot at a moving car could miss and hit a person inside the vehicle, a nearby home or a person walking by, Cox said.
Stanley thinks he hit the tire, which was thick, so the bullet could have lodged in one without flattening it, Stanley said. He was only about 5 feet from the vehicle, so he doesn’t know how he could’ve missed, he said.
He first spotted the vehicle after hearing his dog barking at 1:15 p.m. The vehicle was backed up to his barn with its back hatch open.
Stanley didn’t recognize the vehicle and knew something wasn’t right, so he grabbed a handgun from his safe.
He walked around his property and found a padlock had been cut off his barn door, but nothing was taken. He locked the barn from the inside and then drove to the truck stops at the Interstate 65 exit on Whiteland Road trying to find the vehicle, without success, according to the report.
Stanley drove home and saw the vehicle back in his driveway. He pulled his truck up to block it from driving down his driveway, and then walked up to the men.
He told them to turn off their vehicle and give him the keys. The driver said he was looking for a person who he thought lived at the house. Stanley didn’t recognize the name and told the man he wasn’t telling the truth, he said.
“At that point, I pulled my gun out, and he looks at me and says, ‘Are you going to shoot me for breaking into your barn?’” Stanley said.
Stanley told the driver to turn off the vehicle, but he drove around the truck and sped away. Stanley shot at the left rear tire of the truck, but the truck continued driving through his yard and onto Whiteland Road.
Police searched for the vehicle, but didn’t find it, according to the report. The sheriff’s office is asking for anyone with information to call 346-4604.