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MAN SHOOTS TIRE OF SUV AS BURGLAR TRIES GETAWAY

The home owner found the SUV in his driveway.

Gunfire came to N Peaceful Lane in Largo last week when a husband and wife returned from dinner to find a burglar at their house.

On Wednesday, Michael and Kay Petryszak, both 70, saw an unfamiliar dark blue GMC Envoy in their driveway. Kay Petryszak got out to see if there was anyone in the SUV.

Michael Petryszak felt there was something wrong and retrieved a .357-caliber revolver from the glove box, police said. Petryszak is licensed to carry a concealed firearm. He said he has carried it for years but never had to use it.

Until 6 p.m. Wednesday.

When he opened the garage door, Petryszak saw a strange man leave the side yard and head for the driveway. The stranger jumped into the GMC and began to back out of the driveway. Petryszak had parked behind the SUV, partially blocking it, and when the trespasser tried to hit him, Petryszak used his gun.

"I knew there had to be something seriously wrong for a guy to back over me like that," said Petryszak, a retired electrical engineer. "I wanted to disable it."

Petryszak was standing so close to the car he actually shot down at the driver's side tire, hitting it twice. He said he feared the man was going to hit him or his wife. He never wanted to kill him or even to hurt him, but he had to do something to slow down the escape.

Petryszak acted lawfully, according to Largo police Lt. Mike Loux.

Police said they found that the man forced his way into the Petryszaks' home by breaking the jalousie windows on a rear door and stole several items from the home.

On Thursday, Largo police learned that a possible suspect - Robert Howard Jacobs of Largo - had been arrested by sheriff's deputies on unrelated charges. Detectives interviewed Jacobs, who confessed to the burglary but told them he didn't realize Petryszak had shot at his vehicle, police said.

On Friday, Jacobs was at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $15,550 bail.

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