DEMING, N.M. (AP) – A 71-year-old woman whipped out her revolver and took the law into her own hands when she fired at a burglary suspect as he fled her rural neighborhood, authorities said Wednesday.
Deputies said the woman had spotted a suspicious vehicle in a neighbor’s driveway Monday and confronted the driver, who claimed he was working for a telephone company and checking service.
The woman, whose name was not released, didn’t buy it and took out her phone to call authorities. The man, 19-year-old Rene Saenz, grabbed the woman’s phone and fled in his vehicle, authorities said.
He dodged bullets as he drove away. None of the shots struck him or his vehicle.
After firing five shots, the woman went to her 79-year-old neighbor’s home and called authorities, saying the house had been previously burglarized and the owner wasn’t currently living there.
With a description and license plate number, deputies later arrested Saenz at his home on suspicion of robbery for the theft of the cellphone.
Luna County Undersheriff Arturo Baeza told the Deming Headlight that charges for a previous burglary were pending. It was not immediately clear if Saenz had a lawyer.
Baeza said the incident on Monday remains under investigation, and it’s unclear whether the woman was firing warning shots or felt threatened.
“We do not want residents taking the law into their own hands,” Baeza said. “Luckily, no one was hurt in this incident.”
No charges have been filed against the woman.