St. Helens man meets burglar face-to-face in his home - KPTV - FOX 12

St. Helens man meets burglar face-to-face in his home

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Sketch of the suspect (St. Helens Police) Sketch of the suspect (St. Helens Police)
ST. HELENS, OR (KPTV) -

Fox 12's Most Wanted is still on the run after breaking into a St. Helens home, and attacking the man inside. It happened last Thursday, and now that homeowner is talking about his terrifying encounter.

You could say this burglar picked the wrong person to mess with.

Rob Swanberg, 61, is a retired public safety officer with lots of experience taking down bad guys.

He lives just down the road from where the suspect was last seen running away with a bag of stolen items - some of those items, a bit strange.

“I was laying here, and when I heard the floorboards creak upstairs is when I got up and went up the staircase. I was hoping it was my kids,” said Swanberg.

Swanberg's casual Thursday afternoon nap in his backyard hammock was interrupted by a rude awakening.

“I opened up the door and realized this individual, this stranger is here in my home. I probably said something inappropriate,” Swanberg recalls.

And it didn't take long before it turned violent.

“He did state that he was going to kill me and that other people were going to kill me,” Swanberg told FOX 12.

Knowing there was no one else inside the small home, Swanberg said he tried to hold the suspect down, until police could arrive.

“I held him against the wall and dialed 9-1-1 with my free hand, then my leg gave out, and he fell on top of me and started assaulting me,” said Swanberg.

The suspect then grabbed his bag of loot and ran out the front door. Swanberg says police arrived moments later, and he was taken to the hospital.

“Eight stitches in my lip, and lump on the back of my head and on my forehead,” Swanberg explains as he showed us his injuries.

If Swanberg seems calm it's because he's no stranger to high-stress situations.

“I’ve been confronted with individuals for over 30 years with the type of employment I had, which is campus public safety,” Swanberg said.

As Swanberg inventoried his home to see what was taken, he stumbled upon a bizarre discovery. Along with some missing jewelry, and other trinkets.

“He took all my boxers, which I find to be unusual,” Swanberg told FOX 12.

Swanberg believes the suspect was likely a homeless man.

For now, the retired public safety officer said he wants to focus on healing, and settling back into his normally quiet, peaceful life.

“I think we’re going to be okay, I think the community as a whole is going to be okay as soon as we get past this and the individual is arrested,” Swanberg said.

The suspect is described as a white man in his 30s with some facial hair, about 5’9. He was last seen wearing a grey cap, grey sweatshirt, jeans, and was carrying a black bag or backpack.

He was seen running away from South 16th Street toward Columbia Boulevard in St. Helens.

If you see him or know where he is, call police right away.

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