A Chihuahua and a handgun prove too much for criminal

Tampa Bay Online writes about this story today:

TAMPA - Robert Cash Jr. said he felt like somebody was targeting his Palma Ceia home.

About two weeks ago, he found a claw hammer covered with a rag in a backyard flower bed. Last week, he saw the gate to his wooden privacy fence in the 4100 block of West San Luis Street had been opened. He secured it with a new lock.
"It was obvious something was about to happen," recalled Cash, 40. "You don't know what to think."

About 2:50 a.m. Saturday, everything gelled. Tampa police said Cash surprised a man who had tunneled under a neighbor's fence carrying a blowtorch and shimmied onto Cash's property.

Cash said he greeted the intruder with a .357 Magnum after being awakened by the family dog, a 4-year-old male Chihuahua named Odie.

"You just don't take chances," Cash said. "This guy was hell-bent on breaking into my house."

Cash's wife called 911 while Cash kept the man at bay. Cash said he fired once at the man after he did not obey Cash's commands to stay still; the bullet went into the fence.

"He said, 'Oh, I'm just trying to cut through,'" Cash said. "I fired a little to the left of him."

Cash's actions were justified, said Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.

Police identified the prowler as Mark Edward Mazur, 56, of Tampa. He is charged with felony burglary, felony possession of burglary tools, misdemeanor assault and violating his probation. He was held without bail Tuesday at Orient Road Jail.
Public records show Mazur lives at 4110 W. El Prado Blvd., about five blocks from the Cash family.

Cash, a telecommunications consultant, said he has a burglar alarm but had deactivated it that night to avoid a false alarm during inclement weather. Fortunately, "the Odie alarm was on," he said. . . .



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