DANA POINT (CBS) — Authorities identified a burglar who was shot and killed after apparently breaking into a home as the same man who had been in court earlier in the day on theft and burglary charges in an unrelated case.
Ross Thomas Wells Mortensen, 26, of San Juan Capistrano, was identified Wednesday as the burglar who sneaked through a window into a Dana Point home in the 34000 block of Capistrano by the Sea Monday night. The homeowner shot the burglar while he was inside the house, and he was found dead in the backyard.
According to the Orange County Register, Mortensen was in court earlier that day on charges of petty theft and possession of burglary tools from an Oct. 18 case. Before he was shot and killed, he pleaded not guilty to the charges in that case.
Court records show Mortensen was also facing felony charges of possession of a controlled substance and was scheduled to appear in court in February, the Register reported.
Neighbors in the quiet community located just off Pacific Coast Highway say this resident has been the target of thieves in the past and may have purchased a gun after a previous robbery attempt.
Marie Lopez described an incident that took place last year.
“He had his garage door open and he had his wallet on the seat of his car,” said Lopez. “And he looked and he saw somebody in his car, and he yelled and the guy took off running.”
Detectives say the homeowner, who lives with his wife and small dog, was awakened by noises Monday night. He went downstairs to investigate and confronted Mortensen inside the home.
The homeowner shot Mortensen more than once.
“I would have done the same thing,” said neighbor Brad Hartstein. “You’re not gonna sit around and think ‘what should I do, what is the right thing to do?’ You’re gonna protect your rights to your home.”
Officials say once Mortensen was shot, he tried to escape out the same window he used to enter the house. He then collapsed and died in the side yard.
The resident has not been taken into custody, and will likely not face any charges.
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