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Two PA Men, 75 & 80, Fend off Burglars

PIATT TWP., Pa., April 27 – Police in Lycoming County are on the lookout for two men who got more than they bargained for when they tried to break into two separate homes. In both cases the elderly homeowners fought back.

CHARLES HILL, 80, described the rude awakening he received Wednesday morning. “I saw them banging against the door and I stepped over and hollered, ‘what do you think you are doing out there – you know I have a gun in here.’ “

When he heard the two men trying to break in he grabbed his .22 caliber rifle and defended his home near Jersey Shore. After they fled in a small dark-colored car Hill didn’t stop. He said, “when they went up the hill over there, I fired,” hoping to put tell-tale bullet holes in the pair’s getaway car. But he was unsuccessful. A short time later, state police believe the same two men sized up another home about ten miles away near Cogan Station.

According to police, they broke in and fought with 75-year-old John Umstead. He managed to fight off the attackers but not before suffering a blow to the head and a kick to the ribs. Although sore, he said he was fine. Meanwhile both Umstead and Hill are working with police to help catch the two burglars.

Hill said, “the cop asked me if the gun was loaded, and I said you’re happy tootin’ it’s loaded – I keep it loaded.” He locks his doors, but added, “if they get inside and if I have a gun I won’t aim to kill, but I will aim to cripple.”

Hill said he had no regrets about grabbing his rifle even before dialing 911. “I would do the same thing again … I wouldn’t hesitate.” Police describe the suspects as white males in the 20’s or 30’s. One man is tall and skinny; the other is shorter with a stocky build.

Anyone with any information about the burglars is asked to call state
police at Mountoursville at 368-5700.