ENTERPRISE – A would-be burglar was thwarted by Enterprise property owners Tuesday night after they hid in the trees and staked out their own ranch for three hours waiting to catch the man in action.
St. George resident, Terrence Eugene Davis, 30, was held at gunpoint until authorities could arrive, ranch owner Edward Wade said, after he and his cousins, brothers Donny and Roger Terpstra, caught Davis stealing the horn from Wade’s semitractor-trailer.
It all began when Wade’s parents returned to the property Saturday morning after being gone for the night and found the hood up and all of the doors open on one of the trucks Wade said he stores at the property. The land is owned by his father, Wade said, and it is 80 acres of family land that they all collectively share, but nobody lives there.
When the incident occurred, Wade said, he was out of town for the weekend and his parents didn’t think anything was missing so they just shut the doors and told him about it. After returning home, however, he found that not only were items missing from his semi-trucks, he said, but his camp trailer had also been broken into and burglarized.
“I called the sheriff’s and they came up and kind of pawed around and didn’t seem too interested in it,” he said. “So I went back and got all of my own pictures and tire marks and pictures of that stuff, castings and everything, and I came to the determination of who it was by the tires.”
The two rear tires and two front tires had distinctively different tires, Wade said, explaining how he was able to figure out whose truck had been on the property. Davis knew the property well, Wade said, because he had been there before as an extended family member.
Having figured Davis was the culprit, and knowing he would be returning to Enterprise on Tuesday night to drop things off to family in the area, Wade said, he decided to set a trap and wait.
At about 7:30 p.m., he said, he and his cousins hid their truck on the property and then stowed away in the trees waiting to see if Davis would show. It was about 10:30 p.m. before they heard the gate to the property open and then close – a strong indicator that whoever was coming on to the ranch was not supposed to be there, Wade said.
“Anybody that goes there doesn’t usually close the gate until they leave ‘cause there’s no reason to,” he said. “So we knew that somebody was coming up there that shouldn’t have been up there.”
The men hid and waited while, Wade said, Davis pulled in and drove around the property for a minute making sure he was alone and then got out of his truck and started to dismantle the “train horns” from the semi rigs.
At that point, Wade said, he and his cousins tried to sneak up on Davis, but the dog barked and startled Davis causing him to pull out a flashlight and a handgun and take a look around. Wade and his cousins held still until Davis calmed down and put the gun away and then came in from three sides with their own guns and flashlights and told him to get on the ground.
Once on the ground, Wade said, they took Davis’ gun and knives away from him and then began recording the incident as they called police.
“He went down to the ground on his own,” Wade said. “We kneeled on him for a second to get the gun and everything, and once the gun was away we all stepped up, stood back, and started videotaping and waited for the cops.”
According to a probable cause statement, the gun that was in Davis’s possession, a Ruger handgun, had been reported stolen from an RV on Washington Dam Road the night before as part of an unrelated crime. It went on to say that Davis admitted to deputies that he had taken the weapon and additional items from the RV, as well as the stolen items from the Wade ranch in Enterprise on the two separate occasions in question.
Davis proceeded to give deputies details about where the items were hidden and additional deputies were called in to help recover the stolen property.
Davis was charged with theft of a firearm, a second-degree felony; three class A misdemeanors for burglary of a vehicle; and one class B misdemeanor for trespassing on a nondwelling property. He was booked into Purgatory Correctional facility at 11:17 p.m. Tuesday. His bail was set at $16,412.
Davis has since been released from custody at the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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