A St. Petersburg woman credits her shotgun and her dachshund for fending off would-be robbers.
Maryanne Benedict took protecting her safety and home into her own hands today. Thieves hopped her fence in broad daylight at the home on 33rd Avenue North Friday afternoon. She explains only to 10 News how she foiled the crime.
It's the barking from Daisy the dachshund that first alerted Benedict to the danger in her backyard.
"All of a sudden I hear this barking like I've never heard before, and a loud bang. My instincts kicked in. I ran straight to the shotgun," says Benedict.
Benedict believes the bang she heard was the thieves knocking over propane tanks in her yard. She readied herself for a bang of another kind.
"I grab the shotgun. I grab the bullet. I'm running through the house loading it up and stood at the back door and cocked the gun," says Benedict.
She told the intruders, "You have until the count of three to get out of my yard, or I'm pumping a hole in you. 1, 2, 3, by the time I got to 3 he was over the fence."
From her spot on the porch, Benedict saw only a pair of shoes dive over the fence. "I was very much shaken up. I lock down the house, and very quick call 911," Benedict says.
The thieves got away with four propane tanks, but they stole more than that from the skin cancer survivor. She's now worried about the safety of her neighborhood.
"This is my home. I have seen it gone down so bad, where I just want to leave. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus that I was able to scare them away, and I'm still here breathing," Benedict says.
She's also thanking Daisy. "Did you save mommy today?"
Benedict says to her dog. "I know she did. I know she did."
Police tell 10 News that they've had 33 calls to the neighborhood in the past week. Benedict's theft is the most serious crime. Police say while Benedict's actions saved her, they suggest picking up the phone for help over picking up a gun.
Police Chief Anthony Holloway launched a new "Park, Walk and Talk" initiative, encouraging officers to get out of their cars more often – at least an hour a week - to walk neighborhoods and increase the number of one-on-one interactions with the community.
Records show officers made 365 "Park, Walk and Talk" stops the week of April 6 to 12.