LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. - A Lehigh homeowner took matters into his own hands after thieves targeted his home this week. He set up a simple trap that caught a pair of bicycle thieves in the act.
"This is the first time I've lived here I've had anyone steal from me," said Michael Weber, who has lived in Lehigh for more than six years. In that time, he's watched crime increase in his neighborhood.
He makes sure his home is secure; but Monday night, somebody stole one of two bikes sitting outside. So Weber rigged a trap on the remaining bike, connecting a fishing line from the bicycle to a small box inside, filled with metal so it would rattle as a makeshift alarm.
Weber was surprised when the thieves returned so soon the next night. The box trap worked, along with his his dog, alerting him to trouble outside.
"I announced I had a firearm, didn't seem to bother them too much, they actually thought it was funny the way they were talking," Weber said, having found two young male suspects outside.
"(I) shot one shot into the ground to scare them. I'm not here to hurt nobody, just want to live here peacefully. Its not worth hurting someone over a bicycle, but this is where it starts."
Weber says vigilance in his neighborhood has been key over the last couple of years, with the economy and foreclosures taking its toll. Neighbors have moved out and thieves have moved in.
"Neighbors started to see more stragglers around the neighborhood, more traffic, more people walking around, and more things being stolen," Weber said.
Weber helped set up a neighborhood watch several years ago. One of their members spotted the bicycle thieves and gave a description to deputies, although the suspects still haven't been caught.
Weber is hopeful with continued help from neighbors, their community can feel safe once more.
"It's not a bad place to live, Lehigh's not a bad place. It can better. It can be a lot better."