The Victim: Latchesar Slavov

The Crime: Burglary, vandalism, criminal trespass

Date: May 14, May 17-18

Time: Between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Location: 7000 block of Briarmeadow

The glass broke, and he gripped the gun tightly.

Latchesar Slavov had lived in Preston Hollow for 14 years before moving to Farmers Branch. But he liked the area so much he decided to return. Slavov found a short-sell home he liked, and entered the buying process with the bank that owned the home. The home had been vacant for about 18 months and needed some work inside. It took quite a while, but he eventually was able to buy the home in Preston Meadows.

That’s when the problems began for him.

“The irony is that the very day I was signing the papers is when the vandalism started,” Slavov says. “High school students broke in the home. They kept going in while it was for sale. I took ownership of the home, and they kept doing it.”

Slavov was moving in slowly, and making some repairs as he moved in. While doing this, he noticed that someone had been entering the home: breaking windows, breaking furniture, spray painting graffiti on walls, stealing tools, and even burning things.

“It was a terrible mess,” Slavov says. “I called the police twice and they came and took fingerprints.”

But the break-ins continued. Finally, after mounting frustration, Slavov decided to become more proactive in his attempts to stop the home invaders.

“I left notes saying ‘Stay away, I’ll shoot,’ and they broke in the very next night. That’s when I knew I had to do something,” he says. “I decided to wait for them one night. I got in a closet and waited for about 10 hours. Finally, one entered the window and let the other in through the door.”

Slavov quickly exited the door and pointed his gun at the two boys who had broken into his home.

“I told them to lay down on the ground and called the police,” he says.

Police arrested the two, and Slavov says police told him two other boys and a girl had also been breaking into the home. Slavov says he later received calls of apologies from a couple parents, but has not received any offers to pay for the damage. One boy has offered to help repair the property, but Slavov has not decided whether to accept his offer. He says he has thought about a lawsuit, but has not decided whether to go through with it.

As a new homeowner, the ordeal has been quite frustrating, but since his capture of the vandals, no one has broken into his home.

“I was in competition with someone else who wanted my home, too,” he says of the break-ins. “To be honest, I didn’t know who was going to show up. These were pretty brazen people.”

Dallas Police Lt. Barry Payne of the North Central Patrol Division says this type of case is rare, but recommends owners of vacant homes take major precautions to protect their homes because they are not there as often to watch out for possible security issues.

“This type of offense is a little different from the norm,” Payne says. “Mostly, vacant homes are burglarized for recyclable metal or appliances, not just for vandalism. I don’t have any idea what motivates people to tear up other people’s things, other than just meanness. There is no indication here that the suspects knew the complainant or had any kind of dispute. Homeowners should take the same steps to guard their vacant homes as they do for ones that are occupied.”

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