Home owner bloodied but fends off intruder

William Pape came home Thursday to find something nobody ever wants to find in their house — an intruder.

But the intruder was also about to wish he wasn’t in the house. After Pape discovered the man, the would-be thief ran out of the house and collided with Pape.

After a struggle, the intruder wound up being airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he is in satisfactory condition, and Pape was treated and released from Whidbey General Hospital.

“I drove in the driveway and there was a little white car I didn’t recognize,” Pape said while resting at home Friday. “When you’re not home, you expect to maybe see someone on the porch. But I looked in the window and I saw someone hunched over our computer.”

Pape had his 5-year-old daughter, Jillian, with him at the time. He went back to his truck where she was sitting and told her to run to the neighbor’s house and call the police because a strange man was inside their house.

“Her little feet were moving before she even hit the ground,” Pape said.

When Pape went back to the house, he saw the stranger open the sliding glass door and start to run around the house.

“I must have misjudged how fast he was going, because he ran right into me,” Pape said.

The man, described by Pape as slender and maybe 18 or 19 years old, immediately began hitting Pape with a steel flashlight Pape keeps in his bedroom.

“I was concentrating on blocking the blows,” Pape said.

The fight was on, and that is when Pape’s instincts to protect his family kicked in.

“I was afraid she was going to come back,” Pape said of his daughter. “That made me make sure I didn’t lose the fight.”

Pape recalled a story about a person fending off a shark with a poke to the eye, so that’s what he did. He jammed his thumb into the stranger’s eye, which took the fight out of the intruder.

“I was holding him down and he was trying to make up a story about why he was there,” Pape said. “I was able to get his belt off and I tied up his legs and I threatened him not to move.”

Pape suffered a severe blow to the head that required 20 stitches. The blood from his head wound covered them both, which helped to end the fight.

“We got to a point that was kind of like a Mexican standoff,” Pape said. “That gave me a minute to calm down. Everything was so sticky and covered with blood.”

Island County Sheriff’s Detective Mike Beech said the man has not been arrested because then the county would have to pay for his medical bills.

Detectives would not release the man’s name because he has not been arrested or charged.

Detectives spent most of Thursday collecting evidence from the scene, including the flashlight and the man’s Acura Integra.

Sheriff’s Chief Administrative Deputy Jan Smith said that the suspect is a 21-year-old Central Whidbey Resident. Law enforcement officials are familiar with the man and he has been arrested before for property crimes, she said.

Pape said that the intruder had gathered different items including a a ring that carried special meaning. Pape’s grandfather was a firefighter in New York and when he retired he received a ring for his service. Pape said that ring was in the intruder’s pocket.

For now, Pape is recovering at home. He said he feels safe at his home, but he was a little scared at the time. He is not sorry for what he did. He was simply protecting his home and his family.

“If people are vigilant and kept an eye on their neighborhood, we would see less of this,” he said.

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