Police combed Midvale neighborhoods Thursday for a burglar who was shot when a man found him crouched in his darkened kitchen, rifling through his wife's purse.
Police suspect the wounded man may be responsible for burglarizing nearly a dozen homes in Midvale during the past two months. The Thursday burglary, like the previous ones, involved removing a window screen and targeting a purse. The burglar has usually taken only cash.In several cases, a resident spotted or heard someone running away, but the Thursday incident marked the first time police were able to get a full description of the man.
"We've even had the same things happen during the day," Midvale police Sgt. Jeff Jensen said. "It's hot and people leave their windows open."
In Thursday's incident, a woman living in the north side of a duplex at 641 Wilson awoke about 2:45 a.m. to suspicious sounds in the home. Her husband, 28-year-old James Beddoes, grabbed a .44-caliber Magnum pistol kept in a bedside drawer and went to the kitchen, according to Jensen.
He flipped on the light and found a man crouched on a coun-ter-top under a window going through his wife's purse. Beddoes yelled for the burglar to freeze, but he didn't, according to Jensen.
Beddoes fired up to three times at the burglar, who was struck at least once, police believe. The man fled, leaving behind a gray flashlight and drops of blood on a fence, gate and sidewalk. Police are investigating whether the man had an accomplice because Beddoes' wife heard someone say, "Come on, let's go," Jensen said.
A K-9 unit was called to the duplex to track the man but eventually lost his scent, Jensen said.
Police had notified hospitals in Salt Lake County and the surrounding area to be on the lookout for a wounded man. They issued a statewide attempt-to-locate bulletin describing him as 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 150 to 160 pounds, with short dark hair and a medium-to-dark complexion. He was last seen wearing a dark or black baggy T-shirt or sweatshirt and shorts of a lighter color.
The man was likely shot in the right side or right rear area and will have small, pellet-type wounds, according to the bulletin. Beddoes' actions may be investigated, but Jensen said he believes the man likely acted in fear for his life.
Over a three-hour period Monday, police investigated at least three incidents of burglary or prowlers in the same area. One man awoke about 3:45 a.m. to the sounds of someone sliding open his front bedroom window. The prowler had removed a screen and laid it on the man's lawn, but fled when the man awoke, according to Midvale police.
About the same time, a woman living in the same area spotted a man walking alongside her house. Another man woke up the same morning to find his front door and kitchen window open, with the screen missing. His wife's purse was sitting open on the front room couch and had obviously been tampered with, according to police.
The recent burglaries occurred within the area of 8100 South to 8600 South and State Street to I-15, Jensen said.