Thanks to a gun-toting homeowner with a good-enough aim — along with a repeat offender who made a critical error leading to his arrest — it appears Las Vegas-area authorities have been handed a break in a crime spree that's been going on for months.
What are the details?
A Las Vegas homeowner in a gated community told police he was in an upstairs bedroom around 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7 when his dogs started to growl, KLAS-TV reported, citing an arrest report.
So the homeowner checked home security cameras on his phone and saw four hooded and masked individuals attempting to break in to his residence, the station said.
With that, the man went into his closet, got dressed, and grabbed his gun, KLAS reported.
After the burglars got inside, the homeowner walked to a balcony that opens to the floor below and shot five times at three of the suspects, the station said, citing the report.
All four suspects ran from the home, police told KLAS, adding that a bullet hit one of them.
Afterward police took note of an unregistered Audi parked in front of the victim’s home near Cimarron Road and Oakey Boulevard, the station said, adding that the VIN number is connected to a Texas woman with the last name Freeman.
And wouldn't you know that about an hour after the shooting, a 28-year-old man — later identified as Leroy Freeman — arrived at Spring Valley Hospital with a gunshot wound, police told KLAS.
Cops checked out more surveillance videos showing the Audi entering the gated community minutes before the shooting, the station said, adding that police said the suspects are seen on camera breaking a back patio door to enter the home.
Police matched clothing seen on video to two suspects — one of whom was Freeman — and cops arrested him on charges of home invasion, burglary, and conspiracy to commit burglary, KLAS reported.
A second individual also was charged with the same three charges, but the name was redacted due to that person's age, the station said, adding that information on the other two suspects was not provided in the report.
But wait, there's more
Turns out Freeman was wanted in connection with nearly a dozen burglaries, was under police surveillance days before the homeowner shot him, and had served prison time, KLAS reported in a separate story.
Freeman now faces 11 counts of home invasion and 9 counts of residential burglary in a suspected regional crime spree that began last November, the station said, citing court documents and police records.
Police in Henderson, Nevada — which is about 15 miles southeast of Las Vegas — wrote in court documents that in all the recent incidents, a group of two to four men wearing masks and dark clothing have broken into homes through back doors or windows, KLAS reported. Cops added that victims in several of the incidents hid in their homes as the group was inside, the station said.
On Nov. 25, Las Vegas Metro police stopped Freeman while he was driving a car rented in his father's name, KLAS reported.
On Jan. 6, that car was reported stolen as it hadn't been returned to the car rental agency, police told the station.
On Jan. 10, police arrested Freeman for possession of a stolen vehicle after that same car was stopped on Interstate 15 in California, police added to KLAS.
Police later learned through tracking mechanisms that Freeman was “at or in the area” of 10 burglaries in Henderson, the station said.
And while Henderson police had Freeman under surveillance for several days before the homeowner shot him during the Feb. 7 burglary, cops weren't watching him that day, KLAS said.
What's more, cops learned after Freeman's arrest that he'd been renting a Henderson apartment under a woman’s name — except that she has no ties to the Las Vegas area, and police said Freeman stole her identity, the station said.
Cops told KLAS they searched the apartment Feb. 9 and found several stolen items and a firearm.
Freeman was being held Thursday on $250,000 bail and is due in court next week, the station said.
Anything else? Why, yes there is
In addition, police added that Freeman served prison time for a series of 2017 home invasions, KLAS reported, adding that he took a plea deal culminating with a judge sentencing him to two years.