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CHRISTIANA, Del. - An 82-year-old retired high school math teacher and business owner with diabetes and leukemia shot out a tire on a pickup truck loaded with stuff allegedly stolen from his house near here and held two men at gunpoint until police arrived.

New Castle County police took William G. Rafter, 41, of Clayton, Del., and Mark Sturgill, 30, of Bridgeton, N.J., into custody. They were charged with felony theft and conspiracy by state police, who said they stole a generator and metal items from the yard and put them in a truck at an apartment behind the house.

"I'd do it again," Joe Harper said, "but not first thing in the morning."

Harper says he was just getting up Dec. 10 at another house he owns a few miles away in Ogletown, Del., when his son David Harper, 53, called from work in Dover, Del. His son said a friend who works near the house called him saying thieves were robbing the place.

Joe Harper, an Army veteran who served as a combat engineer and instructor, grabbed his gun before driving over. Minutes later, Harper said he saw his stolen things in the truck and two men getting into it.

Walking to the men, gun in hand, Harper said, he yelled, "I'm an excellent shot and can shoot out your eyes at 60 paces." He fired once at the driver's side front tire and stopped about 6 feet in front of the truck.

"I said, If it moves toward me, the driver gets one right between the eyes,' " he said. After that, he added, "they didn't give me much guff."

Harper was not charged in the incident. But he said he wasn't happy to be frisked, have his gun and pocketknife seized and spend more than an hour in the back of a police car.

His son got back his knife.

"But I'm still waiting for my gun," Harper said. "They say it's evidence."

"Taking the situation into your own hands, you could get hurt," said Officer First Class John Weglarz Sr. of New Castle County, Del. "You also have the possibility of someone else getting injured."

Police confirm a burglary at the Chapman Road house in October. Harper recalls finding his belongings piled in the yard.

"They even had my toaster oven, my microwave and some new screen doors I had," he said. "The police helped me carry everything back into the house, but they never made an arrest."

The same month, he said, thieves stole more than $30,000 worth of kitchen equipment at another property he owns, the historic Shannon Inn, which he and his son are restoring here.
 

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200 Warning Points, with a side of bacon.
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peteinsuffolk said:
the article had a picture of the man...
LOL....I was thinking about that movie while reading this....Clint played a great role.
 
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