Chesterfield County deputies say Ernest Funderburk, 63, stopped two men before noon Sept. 28 from allegedly trying to steal an old golf cart from his property on S.C. Highway 207.
Sheriff Sam Parker mourn residents taking matters into their own hand.
"Holding a gun on somebody who has already committed a crime is very, very serious. You are risking your own life," he said. "If somebody has the nerve to break into your home, they have the nerve to take your life."
The use of firearms by criminals has increased in South Carolina, according to State Law Enforcement Division statistics.
In 2008, 55.4 percent of armed robbers used a firearm, up from 42.5 percent in 1999.
The number of robbers using their fists declined during the same period from 35.4 percent to 24.4 percent.
In Chesterfield County, one of
the most commonly stolen items from homes are firearms typically sold for quick cash, usually for drug money, Parker said.
Residents with firearms need to be familiar with their weapons or take firing lessons as well as family members who have never used a weapon kept inside their home, Parker said.
"My best advice to anyone is to make sure your safety is first," he said. "If you're not familiar how to operate weapon, you're already at a disadvantage."
Parker recommends residents call law enforcement first should they catch burglars on their property.
Should a burglary make a turn for the worse and lives are in immediate danger, "you do what it takes to meet force with force," Parker said.
While in his yard, Funderburk raised his pistol at David William Brown, 36, of Charlotte, N.C., and Charles Anthony Mills, 46, of Monroe, N.C., who Funderburk reportedly caught in his yard attempting to hoist a golf cart on the back of a black Chevrolet S-10 pick-up.
While staring down the business end of the gun, Brown and Mills told Fundrburk they wanted to pay for a lawnmower they took the day before.
When Funderburk told both men deputies were on the way, Mills booked it behind the house into a wooded area.
Deputies apprehended Brown at the scene.
A sheriff's office bloodhound team located Mills nearby an hour later.
Both men face petit larceny and trespassing charges.
Repeated attempts to call Funderburk went unanswered.