EUREKA, Mo. (KMOV.com) - Eureka police are investigating after a homeowner confronted a burglar rifling through his truck and it turned violent.

As the suspect was running away, surveillance video captured him shooting at the homeowner, who returned fire.

“It happened so fast, I didn’t know he had a gun," said the homeowner, Jesse Leuthauser. 

It happened just before 1:00 a.m. on White Doe Court. The bullet the suspect fired at Leuthauser missed him. Eureka police are not sure if the suspect was hit. Police believe there were three suspects involved. They took off in a Nissan after the shooting. 

“I’m not scared of them. I’m going to take these guys head on if they come back," said Leuthauser. 

Leuthauser is worried they will return because he believes the same guy have been at his house before. 

“This is the third time in three months that it’s happened. They stole it on May 23 and took me 11 days to get it back, and it was destroyed," said Leuthuaser.

Leuthauser said several of his neighbors' cars were also hit early Friday morning. Eureka police believe the trio is behind as many as 12 break-ins Friday alone.

“We believe it’s an organized group that’s out there targeting, they’re using stolen vehicles, they are armed. What they’re looking for is weapons and other valuables," said Lt. Mike Werges with Eureka police. 

Werges said this type of crime is on the rise across the St. Louis metro. His department is stepping up patrols, which will include unmarked cars and license plate readers since many of the vehicles used in these crimes were reported stolen.

“I think that at times we live in a kinda a false sense of security. This is a very safe community; however, you wake up to motion in your driveway, you go out to confront someone, which you think maybe is just stealing change and you end up being involved in a violent altercation," said Werges.

Leuthauser's situation is proof that even a well-lit home and an obvious camera mounted on the garage won't always stop criminals. He said the criminals' boldness is what he finds most alarming. 

“It’s getting old, you know? Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to get shot," said Leuthauser. 

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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