CANBY, Ore. (KOIN) — A Canby family is mourning the loss of their family dog and dealing with the aftermath of a man breaking into their home on Tuesday evening.
Aaron Keifer told KOIN 6 News the man “ransacked the house” and sprayed bear mace all over — including at their 4 dogs.
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said Keifer’s wife was out shopping when she got an alert from their Nest home security system. She asked neighbor to go check on the house.
“Once the neighbor got there, he saw the door was kicked in,” Sgt. Brian Jensen said. “He went into the residence and was confronted by an unknown suspect, who pepper sprayed him and took off.”
Keifer said their friend is an Army veteran who served in Iraq, so he was more prepared for a situation like this.
“He knew where one of my pistols was on top of the fridge, went to reach for it,” Keifer said. “By the time he was pulling it from the sheath [the suspect] was 7 feet away from him spraying him with mace.”
The suspect, who called himself “Todd Figs” ran out through the side garage door.
The suspect fled in a late 1990s red Ford Explorer with a tan trim driven by an accomplice. The SUV may have a light-colored sticker near the bottom of the back window. They drove away toward Highway 170.
The victim ran after him, firing a gunshot into the ground to scare the suspect away.
Keifer said they noticed the same SUV driving up and down the street on Monday before the break-in.
The suspect is a white man, about 6 feet tall and 200-215 pounds with “scraggly” facial hair. He was wearing a black ball cap with a silver sticker on the bill, a red T-shirt, cargo shorts, white socks with black Adidas. He was also wearing a black backpack and black gloves.
The homeowner said the suspect stole a Springfield XDS .40 caliber pistol, jewelry and some medication but more may be missing.
“We don’t even know what’s missing yet,” Keifer said. “We haven’t been able to be home since Tuesday night because of severe bear mace all over everything we own.”
Sadly, the Keifer’s had to euthanize one of their dogs, who was already sick but was hurt in the break-in.
“Chaz — he was already kind of sick anyway, healthwise,” Keifer said. “He obviously tried to defend the house, got booted, and just hasn’t been able to move since Tuesday night.”
They took Chaz to the vet and learned he wouldn’t make it through surgery so they had to make a tough decision.
CLACKAMAS COUNTY: A family had to put their dog, Chaz down today after he was kicked around and sprayed with bear spray by robbers who took the family’s gun, jewelry, medicine – after breaking in. Family says surveillance video caught the suspects surveilling their home for days. pic.twitter.com/7iXjUa0Ml9— Eileen Park (@EileenParkTV) September 21, 2018
“This has been a really traumatic experience. Been a long week,” Keifer said. “I had to put my dog down today because of this whole incident.”
Another dog was in a kennel when she was sprayed.
“This is a pretty bad dude that’s doing some bad things that we need to catch,” Jensen said. “Pepper spraying a dog in a kennel is cruel.”
Keifer is thankful that his younger daughter wasn’t home at the time. He said the 14-year-old should have been home, but her mom decided to bring her along to the mall that night.
“I’m thankful that she did, who knows what would’ve happened if she had been here by herself,” Keifer said.
Jensen said the sheriff’s office hasn’t seen a rise in burglaries in the area but that if you notice something happening, call the sheriff’s office to check it out first instead of a friend.
“If you are a neighbor responding to that situation, really be careful and weigh your options,” Jensen said. “It’s not worth getting yourself hurt. It could’ve been deadly.”
Anyone with information about the suspect should call the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office at 503.723.4949 or submit a tip online here.