‘Fed up’ 82-year-old held alleged thieves at gunpoint.

Threat of 'one right between the eyes' stopped escape... Joe…

Threat of ‘one right between the eyes’ stopped escape…

Joe Harper, an 82-year-old retired high school math teacher and business owner with diabetes and leukemia, says he isn’t a hero.

“But people keep telling me I am,” he said. “They keep shaking my hand, telling me I’m a hero, honking and waving.”

Last month, Harper shot out a tire on a pickup truck loaded with stuff allegedly stolen at his house off Chapman Road near Christiana and held two men at gunpoint until police arrived.

New Castle County police took William G. Rafter, 41, of Clayton, and Mark Sturgill, 30, of Bridgeton, N.J., into custody. They were charged with felony theft and conspiracy by state police, who said they stole a generator and metal items from the yard and put them in a truck parked at University Village Apartments behind the house.

“I’d do it again,” Harper said, “but not first thing in the morning.”

Harper says he was just getting up Dec. 10 at another house he owns a few miles away in Ogletown, when his son David, 53, called from work in Dover. His son said a friend who works near the Chapman Road house called him saying thieves were robbing the place, he said.

Harper — an Army veteran who served as a combat engineer and instructor — grabbed his gun before driving over. “It’s a .22 Magnum … a target pistol worth about $250, $200,” he said.

Source: Robin Brown for the News Journal.

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