Ian Rohrback came eye-to-eye with a brazen burglar before chasing the thief out of the house and down a residential street in northwest Norman.
Making the situation worse, the thief was standing in the bedroom where Rohrback and his wife were sleeping at about 6 a.m. Tuesday.
"I heard a noise and asked my wife 'what was that?' Then, I realized a guy was in our bedroom. As I said that, he bolts out of our room and I take off after him," Rohrback recalled.
Rohrback came within six feet of the burglar before the thief turned around and yelled he had a gun, warning his pursuer to back off.
"Being a new dad, I wasn't going to do something to get shot so I stopped," Rohrback said.
The burglary is one of three Norman police are investigating with the same method of operation, which involves the intruder going into a house at night as residents sleep.
Norman police Capt. Jamie Shattuck said the burglaries are "somewhat similar" and have occurred within a mile of each other in the vicinity of 36th Avenue NW and Robinson Street. Rohrback lives in an area east of Brookhaven Village.
Investigators are trying to determine if all of the burglaries are linked.
For now, Shattuck's advice to homeowners is to put a barrier between the burglar and those in the home, and then call 911. His advice doesn't include trying to confront the intruder.
"Most burglars don't have the intent of encountering anyone," Shattuck said. "Generally, if they're approached, they will flee."
So far, the descriptions have been vague, including the one provided by Rohrback. However, Rohrback said he didn't have his eyeglasses on, which prevented him from getting a good look at the thief. Still, Rohrback said the intruder did have a "heavy Oklahoma accent" and was a bit shorter than him.
There may be more than three burglaries for police to investigate, according to Norman resident Chris Moxley, who is a neighborhood watch coordinator in the 36th Avenue NW and Robinson area.
Social media has been a tool for residents who are telling their stories about being burglarized. Some residents claim the burglar is targeting cash, wallets and jewelry as he prowls through the homes under the cover of darkness.
"It's a pretty dangerous situation either for the people or the guy himself if someone has a gun," Moxley said.
Oklahoma's "Make My Day" law allows the use of deadly force by individuals who have a "reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm" after someone illegally enters their home or business.
Moxley said most of the burglaries have occurred in the Brookhaven and Prairie Creek housing additions. Apparently, the burglars are targeting cars with unlocked doors, giving them immediate access to garage door openers and the house. That was the sequence of events in the burglary of the Rohrback residence, the homeowner said.
The best description of the burglar hasn't help police too much. So far, the thief has been described as a "skinny white guy" wearing a baseball cap and carrying a backpack. In at least one instance, the burglar was riding a bicycle, Moxley said.
"We're not going to stop pursuing this," he said.